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    MATTHEW To ACTS:

    FINAL NOTE;

    Deuter-canonical Books are included as references, and less often, the Pseudoe-pigraphia (extra-biblical New Testament Era writings - such as the Gospel of Barnabas - used for over 300 years by the early Church.

    Though these are not Inerrant Scripture, they are very important as geographical and historical references, and helping to understand how particular Hebrew and Greek words were used.

    Since the Deuter-canonical Books were part of the Jewish Bible that Jesus and Paul used, they have great value for understanding the era between the Covenants, and all things Jewish.

    Many will be surprised to know they were in the Geneva Bible of Calvin and Knox - and the Puritan Pilgrims - and included in the King James for over 275 years . . .

    . . . and left out in later versions - ONLY to make the Bible MORE PROFITABLE, by selling at the usual price, while being much smaller to print!

    No wonder Paul said the "love of money is the root of all evil!"

    Further know, that that these books are rejected by most Bible Preachers today, BECAUSE the Jews of Jesus' Day rejected them for the Jewish Canon at the Council of Jamnia after the fall of Jerusalem.

    This seems reasonable enough, and though these Scribes and Lawyers SHOULD have had superior knowledge in ALL THINGS JEWISH . . . in their Jewish wisdom, THEY ALSO REJECTED JESUS AS THE MESSIAH!!!

    TheDeuter-canonical Books are very "Kingdom of God" and "Messianic" Oriented, thus the Jews sis NOT want any writings confirming that Jesus WAS the Jewish Messiah.

    The wise "Students-N-Scholars" will know them, as they provide light on New Testament Scripture that are NOT understood otherwise;

    Quick Example:

    In Luke 3:36 YOUR Bible reads as follows:

      "Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem (Shem), which was the son of Noe (Noah), which was the son of Lamech;"

    This ancestor of Jesus named "Cainan, son of Arphaxad": where is he in YOUR Bible/ (Check Genesis 11:13, and other genealogies).

    This dilemma - which the WORLD calls a great contradiction in the linage of Jesus as the Christ - can ONLY be solved by the Bible Jesus used, which included the Deuter-canonical Books.

    Do you suppose Jesus knew more about the "Correct Books" of the Bible than modern Denomination?



    [1] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, HOMEPAGE and INDEX

    [2] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, INTRO and PREFACE

    [3] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, GENESIS - DEUTERONOMY

    [4] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, JOSHUA To ESTHER

    [5] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, JOB To SONG of SOLOMON

    [6] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, THE PSALMS

    [7] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, ISAIAH To JEREMIAH

    [8] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, EZEKIEL To MALACHI

    [9] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, MATTHEW To ACTS

    [10] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, ROMANS To THE-REVELATION

    [11] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, The Whole OLD TESTAMENT

    [12] Cambridge Bible Commentary Concise, The Whole NEW TESTAMENT





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    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise;

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    "MATTHEW to ACTS"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE FIRST BOOK OF THE GOSPELS: MATTHEW;

    All Commentary from INSPIRED-INERRANT View of God's Word!



    Commentary by David Brown;

      INTRODUCTION

      The New Testament

      THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW

      The author of this Gospel was a publican or tax gatherer, residing at Capernaum, on the westernshore of the Sea of Galilee. As to his identity with the "Levi" of the second and third Gospels, andother particulars, see on Mt 9:9. Hardly anything is known of his apostolic labors.

      That, afterpreaching to his countrymen in Palestine, he went to the East, is the general testimony of antiquity;but the precise scene or scenes of his ministry cannot be determined. That he died a natural deathmay be concluded from the belief of the best-informed of the Fathers—that of the apostles onlythree, James the Greater, Peter, and Paul, suffered martyrdom.

      That the first Gospel was writtenby this apostle is the testimony of all antiquity.For the date of this Gospel we have only internal evidence, and that far from decisive.Accordingly, opinion is much divided. That it was the first issued of all the Gospels was universallybelieved.

      Hence, although in the order of the Gospels, those by the two apostles were placed firstin the oldest manuscripts of the Old Latin version, while in all the Greek manuscripts, with scarcelyan exception, the order is the same as in our Bibles, the Gospel according to Matthew is in everycase placed first.

      And as this Gospel is of all the four the one which bears the most evident marksof having been prepared and constructed with a special view to the Jews—who certainly firstrequired a written Gospel, and would be the first to make use of it—there can be no doubt that itwas issued before any of the others.

      That it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem isequally certain; for as Hug observes [Introduction to the New Testament, p. 316, Fosdick's translation],

      when he reports our Lord's prophecy of that awful event, on coming to the warning about "theabomination of desolation" which they should "see standing in the holy place," he interposes(contrary to his invariable practice, which is to relate without remark) a call to his readers to readintelligently

      —"Whoso readeth, let him understand" (Mt 24:15)

      —a call to attend to the divine signalfor flight which could be intended only for those who lived before the event. But how long beforethat event this Gospel was written is not so clear. Some internal evidences seem to imply a veryearly date.

      Since the Jewish Christians were, for five or six years, exposed to persecution from theirown countrymen—until the Jews, being persecuted by the Romans, had to look to themselves—itis not likely (it is argued) that they should be left so long without some written Gospel to reassureand sustain them, and Matthew's Gospel was eminently fitted for that purpose.

      But the digests towhich Luke refers in his Introduction (see on Lu 1:1) would be sufficient for a time, especially asthe living voice of the "eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word" was yet sounding abroad. Otherconsiderations in favor of a very early date—such as the tender way in which the author seemsstudiously to speak of Herod Antipas, as if still reigning, and his writing of Pilate apparently as ifstill in power—seem to have no foundation in fact, and cannot therefore be made the ground ofreasoning as to the date of this Gospel.

      Its Hebraic structure and hue, though they prove, as wethink, that this Gospel must have been published at a period considerably anterior to the destructionof Jerusalem, are no evidence in favor of so early a date as A.D. 37 or 38—according to some of

      1830 - JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson

      the Fathers, and, of the moderns, Tillemont, Townson, Owen, Birks, Tregelles.

      On the other hand, the datesuggested by the statement of Irenæus [Against Heresies, 3.1], that Matthew put forth his Gospelwhile Peter and Paul were at Rome preaching and founding the Church—or after A.D. 60—thoughprobably the majority of critics are in favor of it, would seem rather too late, especially as the secondand third Gospels, which were doubtless published, as well as this one, before the destruction ofJerusalem, had still to be issued.

      Certainly, such statements as the following, "Wherefore that fieldis called the field of blood unto this day" (Mt 27:8); "And this saying is commonly reported amongthe Jews until this day" (Mt 28:15), bespeak a date considerably later than the events recorded. Weincline, therefore, to a date intermediate between the earlier and the later dates assigned to thisGospel, without pretending to greater precision.

      We have adverted to the strikingly Jewish character and coloring of this Gospel. The facts whichit selects, the points to which it gives prominence, the cast of thought and phraseology, all bespeakthe Jewish point of view from which it was written and to which it was directed. This has beennoticed from the beginning, and is universally acknowledged.

      It is of the greatest consequence tothe right interpretation of it; but the tendency among some even of the best of the Germans to infer,from this special design of the first Gospel, a certain laxity on the part of the Evangelist in thetreatment of his facts, must be guarded against.But by far the most interesting and important point connected with this Gospel is the languagein which it was written.

      It is believed by a formidable number of critics that this Gospel wasoriginally written in what is loosely called Hebrew, but more correctly Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic,the native tongue of the country at the time of our Lord; and that the Greek Matthew which we nowpossess is a translation of that work, either by the Evangelist himself or some unknown hand.

      Theevidence on which this opinion is grounded is wholly external, but it has been deemed conclusiveby Grotius, Michaelis (and his translator), Marsh, Townson, Campbell, Olshausen, Creswell, Meyer, Ebrard, Lange,Davidson, Cureton, Tregelles, Webster and Wilkinson, &c. The evidence referred to cannot be given here,but will be found, with remarks on its unsatisfactory character, in the Introduction to the Gospelsprefixed to our larger Commentary, pp. 28-31.

      But how stand the facts as to our Greek Gospel? We have not a tittle of historical evidence thatit is a translation, either by Matthew himself or anyone else. All antiquity refers to it as the workof Matthew the publican and apostle, just as the other Gospels are ascribed to their respectiveauthors. This Greek Gospel was from the first received by the Church as an integral part of the onequadriform Gospel.

      And while the Fathers often advert to the two Gospels which we have fromapostles, and the two which we have from men not apostles—in order to show that as that of Markleans so entirely on Peter, and that of Luke on Paul, these are really no less apostolical than theother two—though we attach less weight to this circumstance than they did, we cannot but thinkit striking that, in thus speaking, they never drop a hint that the full apostolic authority of the GreekMatthew had ever been questioned on the ground of its not being the original.

      Further, not a tracecan be discovered in this Gospel itself of its being a translation. Michaelis tried to detect, and fanciedthat he had succeeded in detecting, one or two such. Other Germans since, and Davidson and Curetonamong ourselves, have made the same attempt. But the entire failure of all such attempts is nowgenerally admitted, and candid advocates of a Hebrew original are quite ready to own that nonesuch are to be found, and that but for external testimony no one would have imagined that the Greekwas not the original.

      This they regard as showing how perfectly the translation has been executed;but those who know best what translating from one language into another is will be the readiest to

      1831 - JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson

      own that this is tantamount to giving up the question. This Gospel proclaims its own originality ina number of striking points; such as its manner of quoting from the Old Testament, and itsphraseology in some peculiar cases. But the close verbal coincidences of our Greek Matthew withthe next two Gospels must not be quite passed over. There are but two possible ways of explainingthis. Either the translator, sacrificing verbal fidelity in his version, intentionally conformed certainparts of his author's work to the second and third Gospels—in which case it can hardly be calledMatthew's Gospel at all—or our Greek Matthew is itself the original.

      Moved by these considerations, some advocates of a Hebrew original have adopted the theoryof a double original; the external testimony, they think, requiring us to believe in a Hebrew original,while internal evidence is decisive in favor of the originality of the Greek. This theory is espousedby Guericks, Olshausen, Thiersch, Townson, Tregelles, &c. But, besides that this looks too like an artificialtheory, invented to solve a difficulty, it is utterly void of historical support. There is not a vestigeof testimony to support it in Christian antiquity. This ought to be decisive against it.

      It remains, then, that our Greek Matthew is the original of that Gospel, and that no other originalever existed. It is greatly to the credit of Dean Alford, that after maintaining, in the first edition ofhis Greek Testament the theory of a Hebrew original, he thus expresses himself in the second andsubsequent editions: "On the whole, then, I find myself constrained to abandon the view maintainedin my first edition, and to adopt that of a Greek original."

      One argument has been adduced on the other side, on which not a little reliance has been placed;but the determination of the main question does not, in our opinion, depend upon the point whichit raises. It has been very confidently affirmed that the Greek language was not sufficientlyunderstood by the Jews of Palestine when Matthew published his Gospel to make it at all probablethat he would write a Gospel, for their benefit in the first instance, in that language. Now, as thismerely alleges the improbability of a Greek original, it is enough to place against it the evidencealready adduced, which is positive, in favor of the sole originality of our Greek Matthew.

      It isindeed a question how far the Greek language was understood in Palestine at the time referred to.But we advise the reader not to be drawn into that question as essential to the settlement of theother one. It is an element in it, no doubt, but not an essential element. There are extremes on bothsides of it. The old idea, that our Lord hardly ever spoke anything but Syro-Chaldaic, is now prettynearly exploded. Many, however, will not go the length, on the other side, of Hug (in his Introductionto the New Testament, pp. 326, &c.) and Roberts ("Discussions of the Gospels," &c., pp. 25, &c.).

      For ourselves, though we believe that our Lord, in all the more public scenes of His ministry, spokein Greek, all we think it necessary here to say is that there is no ground to believe that Greek wasso little understood in Palestine as to make it improbable that Matthew would write his Gospelexclusively in that language—so improbable as to outweigh the evidence that he did so.

      And when we think of the number of digests or short narratives of the principal facts of our Lord's history which we know from Luke (Lu 1:1-4) were floating about for some time before he wrote his Gospel, of which he speaks by no means is respectfully, and nearly all of which would be in the mothertongue, we can have no doubt that the Jewish Christians and the Jews of Palestine generally would have from the first reliable written matter sufficient to supply every necessary requirement until the publican-apostle should leisurely draw up the first of the four Gospels in a language to them not a strange tongue, while to the rest of the world it was the language in which the entire quadriform Gospel was to be for all time enshrined.

      The following among others hold to this view of the sole1832JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonoriginality of the Greek Matthew: Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Lightfoot, Wetstein, Lardner, Hug, Fritzsche, Credner,De Wette, Stuart, Da Costa, Fairbairn, Roberts.On two other questions regarding this Gospel it would have been desirable to say something,had not our available space been already exhausted: The characteristics, both in language andmatter, by which it is distinguished from the other three, and its relation to the second and thirdGospels.

      On the latter of these topics—whether one or more of the Evangelists made use of thematerials of the other Gospels, and, if so, which of the Evangelists drew from which—the opinionsare just as numerous as the possibilities of the case, every conceivable way of it having one or morewho plead for it.

      The most popular opinion until recently—and perhaps the most popular still—isthat the second Evangelist availed himself more or less of the materials of the first Gospel, and thethird of the materials of both the first and second Gospels. Here we can but state our own belief,that each of the first three Evangelists wrote independently of both the others; while the fourth,familiar with the first three, wrote to supplement them, and, even where he travels along the sameline, wrote quite independently of them.

      This judgment we express, with all deference for thosewho think otherwise, as the result of a close study of each of the Gospels in immediate juxtapositionand comparison with the others. On the former of the two topics noticed, the linguistic peculiaritiesof each of the Gospels have been handled most closely and ably by Credner [Einleitung (Introductionto the New Testament)], of whose results a good summary will be found in Davidson's Introductionto the New Testament.

      The other peculiarities of the Gospels have been most felicitously andbeautifully brought out by Da Costa in his Four Witnesses, to which we must simply refer the reader,though it contains a few things in which we cannot concur.




    GOLD DIVIDER WITH CROSS CENTER

    Cambridge Bible Commentary, Concise;

    Jamieson, Fausset & Brown: Edited, Annotated by NewtonStein;

    "JOB 1"

    AN EXPOSITION, WITH PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS
    OF THE FIRST BOOK OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: MATTHEW;

    All Commentary from INSPIRED-INERRANT View of God's Word!



    Commentary by A. R. Faussett;

      CHAPTER 1

      Mt 1:1-17. Genealogy of Christ. ( Lu 3:23-38).1. The book of the generation—an expression purely Jewish; meaning, "table of the genealogy."In Ge 5:1 the same expression occurs in this sense. We have here, then, the title, not of this wholeGospel of Matthew, but only of the first seventeen verses.of Jesus Christ—For the meaning of these glorious words, see on

      Mt 1:16; Mt 1:21. "Jesus,"the name given to our Lord at His circumcision (Lu 2:21), was that by which He was familiarlyknown while on earth. The word "Christ"—though applied to Him as a proper name by the angelwho announced His birth to the shepherds (Lu 2:11), and once or twice used in this sense by ourLord Himself (Mt 23:8, 10; Mr 9:41)—only began to be so used by others about the very close ofHis earthly career (Mt 26:68; 27:17). The full form, "Jesus Christ," though once used by Himselfin His Intercessory Prayer (Joh 17:3), was never used by others till after His ascension and theformation of churches in His name.

      Its use, then, in the opening words of this Gospel (and in Mt1:17, 18) is in the style of the late period when our Evangelist wrote, rather than of the events hewas going to record.the son of David, the son of Abraham—As Abraham was the first from whose family it waspredicted that Messiah should spring (Ge 22:18), so David was the last. To a Jewish reader,accordingly, these behooved to be the two great starting-points of any true genealogy of the promisedMessiah; and thus this opening verse, as it stamps the first Gospel as one peculiarly Jewish, wouldat once tend to conciliate the writer's people. From the nearest of those two fathers came that familiar

      1833 JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson

      name of the promised Messiah, "the son of David" (Lu 20:41), which was applied to Jesus, eitherin devout acknowledgment of His rightful claim to it (Mt 9:27; 20:31), or in the way of insinuatinginquiry whether such were the case (see on Joh 4:29; Mt 12:23).2. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and hisbrethren—Only the fourth son of Jacob is here named, as it was from his loins that Messiah wasto spring (Ge 49:10).3-6. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrombegat Aram; 4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naassonbegat Salmon; 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; andObed begat Jesse; 6. And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon ofher of Urias—Four women are here introduced; two of them Gentiles by birth—Rachab and Ruth;and three of them with a blot at their names in the Old Testament—Thamar, Rachab, and Bath-sheba.This feature in the present genealogy—herein differing from that given by Luke—comes well fromhim who styles himself in his list of the Twelve, what none of the other lists do, "Matthew thepublican"; as if thereby to hold forth, at the very outset, the unsearchable riches of that grace whichcould not only fetch in "them that are afar off," but teach down even to "publicans and harlots,"and raise them to "sit with the princes of his people." David is here twice emphatically styled "Davidthe king," as not only the first of that royal line from which Messiah was to descend, but the oneking of all that line from which the throne that Messiah was to occupy took its name—"the throneof David." The angel Gabriel, in announcing Him to His virgin-mother, calls it "the throne of DavidHis father," sinking all the intermediate kings of that line, as having no importance save as linksto connect the first and the last king of Israel as father and son. It will be observed that Rachab ishere represented as the great-grandmother of David (see Ru 4:20-22; 1Ch 2:11-15)—a thing notbeyond possibility indeed, but extremely improbable, there being about four centuries betweenthem. There can hardly be a doubt that one or two intermediate links are omitted.7-8. And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8. AndAsa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias—or Uzziah. Threekings are here omitted—Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah (1Ch 3:11, 12). Some omissions behoovedto be made, to compress the whole into three fourteens (Mt 1:17). The reason why these, ratherthan other names, are omitted, must be sought in religious considerations—either in the connectionof those kings with the house of Ahab (as Lightfoot, Ebrard, and Alford view it); in their slender rightto be regarded as true links in the theocratic chain (as Lange takes it); or in some similardisqualification.11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren—Jeconiah was Josiah's grandson, beingthe son of Jehoiakim, Josiah's second son (1Ch 3:15); but Jehoiakim might well be sunk in such acatalogue, being a mere puppet in the hands of the king of Egypt (2Ch 36:4). The "brethren" ofJechonias here evidently mean his uncles—the chief of whom, Mattaniah or Zedekiah, who cameto the throne (2Ki 24:17), is, in 2Ch 36:10, as well as here, called "his brother."about the time they were carried away to Babylon—literally, "of their migration," for theJews avoided the word "captivity" as too bitter a recollection, and our Evangelist studiously respectsthe national feeling.12. And after they were brought to Babylon—after the migration of Babylon.Jechonias begat Salathiel—So 1Ch 3:17. Nor does this contradict Jer 22:30, "Thus saith theLord, Write ye this man (Coniah, or Jeconiah) childless"; for what follows explains in what sense1834JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthis was meant—"for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David." He wasto have seed, but no reigning child.and Salathiel—or Shealtiel.begat Zorobabel—So Ezr 3:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1. But it would appear from 1Ch 3:19 thatZerubbabel was Salathiel's grandson, being the son of Pedaiah, whose name, for some reasonunknown, is omitted.13-15. And Zorobabel begat Abiud, &c.—None of these names are found in the Old Testament;but they were doubtless taken from the public or family registers, which the Jews carefully kept,and their accuracy was never challenged.16. And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus—From thisit is clear that the genealogy here given is not that of Mary, but of Joseph; nor has this ever beenquestioned. And yet it is here studiously proclaimed that Joseph was not the natural, but only thelegal father of our Lord. His birth of a virgin was known only to a few; but the acknowledgeddescent of his legal father from David secured that the descent of Jesus Himself from David shouldnever be questioned. See on Mt 1:20.who is called Christ—signifying "anointed." It is applied in the Old Testament to the kings(1Sa 24:6, 10); to the priests (Le 4:5, 16, &c.); and to the prophets (1Ki 19:16)—these all beinganointed with oil, the symbol of the needful spiritual gifts to consecrate them to their respectiveoffices; and it was applied, in its most sublime and comprehensive sense, to the promised Deliverer,inasmuch as He was to be consecrated to an office embracing all three by the immeasurable anointingof the Holy Ghost (Isa 61:1; compare Joh 3:34).17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and fromDavid until the carrying away—or migration.into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon—themigration of Babylon.unto Christ are fourteen generations—that is, the whole may be conveniently divided intothree fourteens, each embracing one marked era, and each ending with a notable event, in theIsraelitish annals. Such artificial aids to memory were familiar to the Jews, and much larger gapsthan those here are found in some of the Old Testament genealogies. In Ezr 7:1-5 no fewer thansix generations of the priesthood are omitted, as will appear by comparing it with 1Ch 6:3-15. Itwill be observed that the last of the three divisions of fourteen appears to contain only thirteendistinct names, including Jesus as the last. Lange thinks that this was meant as a tacit hint that Marywas to be supplied, as the thirteenth link of the last chain, as it is impossible to conceive that theEvangelist could have made any mistake in the matter. But there is a simpler way of accountingfor it. As the Evangelist himself (Mt 1:17) reckons David twice—as the last of the first fourteenand the first of the second—so, if we reckon the second fourteen to end with Josiah, who was coevalwith the "carrying away into captivity" (Mt 1:11), and third to begin with Jeconiah, it will be foundthat the last division, as well as the other two, embraces fourteen names, including that of our Lord.Mt 1:18-25. Birth of Christ.18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise—or, "thus."When as his mother Mary was espoused—rather, "betrothed."to Joseph, before they came together, she was found—discovered to be.with child of the Holy Ghost—It was, of course, the fact only that was discovered; theexplanation of the fact here given is the Evangelist's own. That the Holy Ghost is a living conscious1835JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonPerson is plainly implied here, and is elsewhere clearly taught (Ac 5:3, 4, &c.): and that, in theunity of the Godhead, He is distinct both from the Father and the Son, is taught with equaldistinctness (Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14). On the miraculous conception of our Lord, see on Lu 1:35.19. Then Joseph her husband—Compare Mt 1:20, "Mary, thy wife." Betrothal was, in Jewishlaw, valid marriage. In giving Mary up, therefore, Joseph had to take legal steps to effect theseparation.being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example—to expose her (see De22:23, 24)was minded to put her away privily—that is, privately by giving her the required writing ofdivorcement (De 24:1), in presence of only two or three witnesses, and without cause assigned,instead of having her before a magistrate. That some communication had passed between him andhis betrothed, directly or indirectly, on the subject, after she returned from her three months' visitto Elizabeth, can hardly be doubted. Nor does the purpose to divorce her necessarily imply disbelief,on Joseph's part, of the explanation given him. Even supposing him to have yielded to it somereverential assent—and the Evangelist seems to convey as much, by ascribing the proposal to screenher to the justice of his character—he might think it altogether unsuitable and incongruous in suchcircumstances to follow out the marriage.20. But while he thought on these things—Who would not feel for him after receiving suchintelligence, and before receiving any light from above? As he brooded over the matter alone, inthe stillness of the night, his domestic prospects darkened and his happiness blasted for life, hismind slowly making itself up to the painful step, yet planning how to do it in the way leastoffensive—at the last extremity the Lord Himself interposes.behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph thou son ofDavid—This style of address was doubtless advisedly chosen to remind him of what all the familiesof David's line so early coveted, and thus it would prepare him for the marvellous announcementwhich was to follow.fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the HolyGhost—Though a dark cloud now overhangs this relationship, it is unsullied still.21. And she shall bring forth a son—Observe, it is not said, "she shall bear thee a son," aswas said to Zacharias of his wife Elizabeth (Lu 1:13).and thou—as his legal father.shalt call his name JESUS—from the Hebrew meaning "Jehovah the Saviour"; in GreekJesus—to the awakened and anxious sinner sweetest and most fragrant of all names, expressing somelodiously and briefly His whole saving office and work!for he shall save—The "He" is here emphatic—He it is that shall save; He personally, and bypersonal acts (as Webster and Wilkinson express it).his people—the lost sheep of the house of Israel, in the first instance; for they were the onlypeople He then had. But, on the breaking down of the middle wall of partition, the saved peopleembraced the "redeemed unto God by His blood out of every kindred and people and tongue andnation."from their sins—in the most comprehensive sense of salvation from sin (Re 1:5; Eph 5:25-27).22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by theprophet—(Isa 7:14).saying—as follows.1836JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. Behold, a virgin—It should be "the virgin" meaning that particular virgin destined to thisunparalleled distinction.shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,which, being interpreted, is, God with us—Not that He was to have this for a proper name (like"Jesus"), but that He should come to be known in this character, as God manifested in the flesh,and the living bond of holy and most intimate fellowship between God and men from henceforthand for ever.24. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep—and all his difficulties now removed.did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife—With what deepand reverential joy would this now be done on his part; and what balm would this minister to hisbetrothed one, who had till now lain under suspicions of all others the most trying to a chaste andholy woman—suspicions, too, arising from what, though to her an honor unparalleled, was to allaround her wholly unknown!25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his nameJESUS—The word "till" does not necessarily imply that they lived on a different footing afterwards(as will be evident from the use of the same word in 1Sa 15:35; 2Sa 6:23; Mt 12:20); nor does theword "first-born" decide the much-disputed question, whether Mary had any children to Josephafter the birth of Christ; for, as Lightfoot says, "The law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded notwhether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before." (See on Mt 13:55, 56).CHAPTER 2Mt 2:1-12. Visit of the Magi to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.The Wise Men Reach Jerusalem—The Sanhedrim, on Herod's Demand, Pronounce Bethlehemto Be Messiah's Predicted Birthplace (Mt 2:1-6).1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea—so called to distinguish it from anotherBethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun, near the Sea of Galilee (Jos 19:15); called also Beth-lehem-judah,as being in that tribe (Jud 17:7); and Ephrath (Ge 35:16); and combining both, Beth-lehem Ephratah(Mic 5:2). It lay about six miles southwest of Jerusalem. But how came Joseph and Mary to removethither from Nazareth, the place of their residence? Not of their own accord, and certainly not withthe view of fulfilling the prophecy regarding Messiah's birthplace; nay, they stayed at Nazareth tillit was almost too late for Mary to travel with safety; nor would they have stirred from it at all, hadnot an order which left them no choice forced them to the appointed place. A high hand was in allthese movements. (See on Lu 2:1-6).in the days of Herod the king—styled the Great; son of Antipater, an Edomite, made king bythe Romans. Thus was "the sceptre departing from Judah" (Ge 49:10), a sign that Messiah was nowat hand. As Herod is known to have died in the year of Rome 750, in the fourth year before thecommencement of our Christian era, the birth of Christ must be dated four years before the dateusually assigned to it, even if He was born within the year of Herod's death, as it is next to certainthat He was.there came wise men—literally, "Magi" or "Magians," probably of the learned class whocultivated astrology and kindred sciences. Balaam's prophecy (Nu 24:17), and perhaps Daniel's(Da 9:24, &c.), might have come down to them by tradition; but nothing definite is known of them.1837JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfrom the east—but whether from Arabia, Persia, or Mesopotamia is uncertain.to Jerusalem—as the Jewish metropolis.2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?—From this it would seem they werenot themselves Jews. (Compare the language of the Roman governor, Joh 18:33, and of the Romansoldiers, Mt 27:29, with the very different language of the Jews themselves, Mt 27:42, &c.). TheRoman historians, Suetonius and Tacitus, bear witness to an expectation, prevalent in the East, thatout of Judea should arise a sovereign of the world.for we have seen his star in the east—Much has been written on the subject of this star; butfrom all that is here said it is perhaps safest to regard it as simply a luminous meteor, which appearedunder special laws and for a special purpose.and are come to worship him—to do Him homage, as the word signifies; the nature of thathomage depending on the circumstances of the case. That not civil but religious homage is meanthere is plain from the whole strain of the narrative, and particularly Mt 2:11. Doubtless these simplestrangers expected all Jerusalem to be full of its new-born King, and the time, place, andcircumstances of His birth to be familiar to every one. Little would they think that the firstannouncement of His birth would come from themselves, and still less could they anticipate thestartling, instead of transporting, effect which it would produce—else they would probably havesought their information regarding His birthplace in some other quarter. But God overruled it todraw forth a noble testimony to the predicted birthplace of Messiah from the highest ecclesiasticalauthority in the nation.3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled—viewing this as a dangerto his own throne: perhaps his guilty conscience also suggested other grounds of fear.and all Jerusalem with him—from a dread of revolutionary commotions, and perhaps also ofHerod's rage.4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together—Theclass of the "chief priests" included the high priest for the time being, together with all who hadpreviously filled this office; for though the then head of the Aaronic family was the only rightfulhigh priest, the Romans removed them at pleasure, to make way for creatures of their own. In thisclass probably were included also the heads of the four and twenty courses of the priests. The"scribes" were at first merely transcribers of the law and synagogue readers; afterwards interpretersof the law, both civil and religious, and so both lawyers and divines. The first of these classes, aproportion of the second, and "the elders"—that is, as Lightfoot thinks, "those elders of the laity thatwere not of the Levitical tribe"—constituted the supreme council of the nation, called the Sanhedrim,the members of which, at their full complement, numbered seventy-two. That this was the councilwhich Herod now convened is most probable, from the solemnity of the occasion; for though theelders are not mentioned, we find a similar omission where all three were certainly meant (compareMt 26:59; 27:1). As Meyer says, it was all the theologians of the nation whom Herod convened,because it was a theological response that he wanted.he demanded of them—as the authorized interpreters of Scripture.where Christ—the Messiah.should be born—according to prophecy.5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea—a prompt and involuntary testimonyfrom the highest tribunal; which yet at length condemned Him to die.for thus it is written by the prophet—(Mic 5:2).1838JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda—the "in" being familiarly left out, as we say,"London, Middlesex."art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor,&c.—This quotation, though differing verbally, agrees substantially with the Hebrew and theSeptuagint. For says the prophet, "Though thou be little, yet out of thee shall come the Ruler"—thishonor more than compensating for its natural insignificance; while our Evangelist, by a lively turn,makes him say, "Thou art not the least: for out of thee shall come a Governor"—this distinctionlifting it from the lowest to the highest rank. The "thousands of Juda," in the prophet, mean thesubordinate divisions of the tribe: our Evangelist, instead of these, merely names the "princes" orheads of these families, including the districts which they occupied.that shall rule—or "feed," as in the Margin.my people Israel—In the Old Testament, kings are, by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds"(Eze 34:1-10, &c.). The classical writers use the same figure. The pastoral rule of Jehovah andMessiah over His people is a representation pervading all Scripture, and rich in import. (See Ps23:1-6; Isa 40:11; Eze 37:24; Joh 10:11; Re 7:17). That this prophecy of Micah referred to theMessiah, was admitted by the ancient Rabbins.The Wise Men Despatched to Bethlehem by Herod to See the Babe, and Bring Him Word, Makea Religious Offering to the Infant King, but Divinely Warned, Return Home by Another Way (Mt2:7-12).7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men—Herod has so far succeeded in hismurderous design: he has tracked the spot where lies his victim, an unconscious babe. But he hasanother point to fix—the date of His birth—without which he might still miss his mark. The onehe had got from the Sanhedrim; the other he will have from the sages; but secretly, lest his objectshould be suspected and defeated. So heinquired of them diligently—rather, "precisely."what time the star appeared—presuming that this would be the best clue to the age of thechild. The unsuspecting strangers tell him all. And now he thinks he is succeeding to a wish, andshall speedily clutch his victim; for at so early an age as they indicate, He would not likely havebeen removed from the place of His birth. Yet he is wary. He sends them as messengers fromhimself, and bids them come to him, that he may follow their pious example.8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently—"Search outcarefully."for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may comeand worship him also—The cunning and bloody hypocrite! Yet this royal mandate would meantimeserve as a safe conduct to the strangers.9. When they had heard the king, they departed—But where were ye, O Jewish ecclesiastics,ye chief priests and scribes of the people? Ye could tell Herod where Christ should be born, andcould hear of these strangers from the far East that the Desire of all nations had actually come; butI do not see you trooping to Bethlehem—I find these devout strangers journeying thither all alone.Yet God ordered this too, lest the news should be blabbed, and reach the tyrant's ears, before theBabe could be placed beyond his reach. Thus are the very errors and crimes and cold indifferencesof men all overruled.and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east—implying apparently that it had disappeared inthe interval.1839JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwent before them, and stood over where the young child was—Surely this could hardly bebut by a luminous meteor, and not very high.10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy—The language is verystrong, expressing exuberant transport.11. And when they were come into the house—not the stable; for as soon as Bethlehem wasemptied of its strangers, they would have no difficulty in finding a dwelling-house.they saw—The received text has "found"; but here our translators rightly depart from it, for ithas no authority.the young child with Mary his mother—The blessed Babe is naturally mentioned first, thenthe mother; but Joseph, though doubtless present, is not noticed, as being but the head of the house.and fell down and worshipped him—Clearly this was no civil homage to a petty Jewish king,whom these star-guided strangers came so far, and inquired so eagerly, and rejoiced with suchexceeding joy, to pay, but a lofty spiritual homage. The next clause confirms this.and when they had opened their treasures they presented—rather, "offered."unto him gifts—This expression, used frequently in the Old Testament of the oblations presentedto God, is in the New Testament employed seven times, and always in a religious sense of offeringsto God. Beyond doubt, therefore, we are to understand the presentation of these gifts by the Magias a religious offering.gold, frankincense, and myrrh—Visits were seldom paid to sovereigns without a present (1Ki10:2, &c.; compare Ps 72:10, 11, 15; Isa 60:3, 6). "Frankincense" was an aromatic used in sacrificialofferings; "myrrh" was used in perfuming ointments. These, with the "gold" which they presented,seem to show that the offerers were persons in affluent circumstances. That the gold was presentedto the infant King in token of His royalty; the frankincense in token of His divinity, and the myrrh,of His sufferings; or that they were designed to express His divine and human natures; or that theprophetical, priestly, and kingly offices of Christ are to be seen in these gifts; or that they were theofferings of three individuals respectively, each of them kings, the very names of whom traditionhas handed down—all these are, at the best, precarious suppositions. But that the feelings of thesedevout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, and that the gold, at least, would be highlyserviceable to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unexpected journey to Egypt and staythere—that much at least admits of no dispute.12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, theydeparted—or, "withdrew."to their own country another way—What a surprise would this vision be to the sages, just asthey were preparing to carry the glad news of what they had seen to the pious king! But the Lordknew the bloody old tyrant better than to let him see their face again.Mt 2:13-23. The Flight into Egypt—The Massacre at Bethlehem—The Return of Joseph and Mary with the Babe,after Herod's Death, and Their Settlement at Nazareth. ( = Lu 2:39).The Flight into Egypt (Mt 2:13-15).13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph ina dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother—Observe this form ofexpression, repeated in Mt 2:14—another indirect hint that Joseph was no more than the Child'sguardian. Indeed, personally considered, Joseph has no spiritual significance, and very little placeat all, in the Gospel history.1840JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand flee into Egypt—which, being near, as Alford says, and a Roman province independent ofHerod, and much inhabited by Jews, was an easy and convenient refuge. Ah! blessed Saviour, onwhat a checkered career hast Thou entered here below! At Thy birth there was no room for Theein the inn; and now all Judea is too hot for Thee. How soon has the sword begun to pierce throughthe Virgin's soul (Lu 2:35)! How early does she taste the reception which this mysterious Child ofhers is to meet with in the world! And whither is He sent? To "the house of bondage?" Well, itonce was that. But Egypt was a house of refuge before it was a house of bondage, and now it hasbut returned to its first use.and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroyhim—Herod's murderous purpose was formed before the Magi had reached Bethlehem.14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed intoEgypt—doubtless the same night.15. And was there until the death of Herod—which took place not very long after this of ahorrible disease; the details of which will be found in Josephus [Antiquities, 17.6.1,5,7,8].that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying—(Ho 11:1).Out of Egypt have I called my son—Our Evangelist here quotes directly from the Hebrew,warily departing from the Septuagint, which renders the words, "From Egypt have I recalled hischildren," meaning Israel's children. The prophet is reminding his people how dear Israel was toGod in the days of his youth; how Moses was bidden to say to Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord, Israelis My son, My first-born; and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if thourefuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born" (Ex 4:22, 23); how, whenPharaoh refused, God having slain all his first-born, "called His own son out of Egypt," by a strokeof high-handed power and love. Viewing the words in this light, even if our Evangelist had notapplied them to the recall from Egypt of God's own beloved, Only-begotten Son, the applicationwould have been irresistibly made by all who have learnt to pierce beneath the surface to the deeperrelations which Christ bears to His people, and both to God; and who are accustomed to trace theanalogy of God's treatment of each respectively.16. Then Herod, &c.—As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera: "She looked out at a window,and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of hischariots? Have they not sped?" so Herod wonders that his messengers, with pious zeal, are nothastening with the news that all is ready to receive him as a worshipper. What can be keeping them?Have they missed their way? Has any disaster befallen them? At length his patience is exhausted.He makes his inquiries and finds they are already far beyond his reach on their way home.when he saw that he was mocked—was trifled with.of the wise men—No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the wise men, but of a Higher than they.He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath thee in derision. He disappointeththe devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise intheir own craftiness, and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong (Ps 2:4; Job 5:12, 13). Thatblessed Babe shall die indeed, but not by thy hand. As He afterwards told that son of thine—ascunning and as unscrupulous as thyself—when the Pharisees warned Him to depart, for Herodwould seek to kill Him—"Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-dayand to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, andto-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Lu13:32, 33). Bitter satire!1841JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwas exceeding wroth—To be made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings cannot stand.Herod burns with rage and is like a wild bull in a net. So hesent forth—a band of hired murderers.and slew all the children—male children.that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof—environs.from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently—carefully.inquired of the wise men—In this ferocious step Herod was like himself—as crafty as cruel.He takes a large sweep, not to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace his victim. Andso it had, if He had been there. But He is gone. Heaven and earth shall sooner pass away than thoushalt have that Babe into thy hands. Therefore, Herod, thou must be content to want Him: to fillup the cup of thy bitter mortifications, already full enough—until thou die not less of a broken heartthan of a loathsome and excruciating disease. Why, ask skeptics and skeptical critics, is not thismassacre, if it really occurred, recorded by Josephus, who is minute enough in detailing the crueltiesof Herod? To this the answer is not difficult. If we consider how small a town Bethlehem was, itis not likely there would be many male children in it from two years old and under; and when wethink of the number of fouler atrocities which Josephus has recorded of him, it is unreasonable tomake anything of his silence on this.17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying—(Jer 31:15,from which the quotation differs but verbally).18. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning,Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not—Thesewords, as they stand in Jeremiah, undoubtedly relate to the Babylonish captivity. Rachel, the motherof Joseph and Benjamin, was buried in the neighborhood of Bethlehem (Ge 35:19), where hersepulchre is still shown. She is figuratively represented as rising from the tomb and uttering a doublelament for the loss of her children—first, by a bitter captivity, and now by a bloody death. And afoul deed it was. O ye mothers of Bethlehem! methinks I hear you asking why your innocent babesshould be the ram caught in the thicket, while Isaac escapes. I cannot tell you, but one thing I know,that ye shall, some of you, live to see a day when that Babe of Bethlehem shall be Himself the Ram,caught in another sort of thicket, in order that your babes may escape a worse doom than they nowendure. And if these babes of yours be now in glory, through the dear might of that blessed Babe,will they not deem it their honor that the tyrant's rage was exhausted upon themselves instead oftheir infant Lord?19. But when Herod was dead—Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe from a dreadedRival; but it was He only that was safe from thee; and thou hast not long enjoyed even this fanciedsecurity. See on Mt 2:15.behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt—Our translators,somewhat capriciously, render the same expression "the angel of the Lord," Mt 1:20; 2:13; and "anangel of the Lord," as here. As the same angel appears to have been employed on all these highoccasions—and most likely he to whom in Luke is given the name of "Gabriel," Lu 1:19,26—perhaps it should in every instance except the first, be rendered "the angel."20. Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land ofIsrael—not to the land of Judea, for he was afterward expressly warned not to settle there, nor toGalilee, for he only went thither when he found it unsafe to settle in Judea but to "the land of Israel,"in its most general sense; meaning the Holy Land at large—the particular province being not as yet1842JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonindicated. So Joseph and the Virgin had, like Abraham, to "go out, not knowing whither they went,"till they should receive further direction.for they are dead which sought the young child's life—a common expression in mostlanguages where only one is meant, who here is Herod. But the words are taken from the strikinglyanalogous case in Ex 4:19, which probably suggested the plural here; and where the command isgiven to Moses to return to Egypt for the same reason that the greater than Moses was now orderedto be brought back from it—the death of him who sought his life. Herod died in the seventieth yearof his age, and thirty-seventh of his reign.21. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land ofIsrael—intending, as is plain from what follows, to return to Bethlehem of Judea, there, no doubt,to rear the Infant King, as at His own royal city, until the time should come when they would expectHim to occupy Jerusalem, "the city of the Great King."22. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his fatherHerod—Archelaus succeeded to Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; but Augustus refused him the titleof king till it should be seen how he conducted himself; giving him only the title of ethnarch [Josephus,Antiquities, 17.11,4]. Above this, however, he never rose. The people, indeed, recognized him ashis father's successor; and so it is here said that he "reigned in the room of his father Herod." But,after ten years' defiance of the Jewish law and cruel tyranny, the people lodged heavy complaintsagainst him, and the emperor banished him to Vienne in Gaul, reducing Judea again to a Romanprovince. Then the "scepter" clean "departed from Judah."he was afraid to go thither—and no wonder, for the reason just mentioned.notwithstanding—or more simply, "but."being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside—withdrew.into the parts of Galilee—or the Galilean parts. The whole country west of the Jordan was atthis time, as is well known, divided into three provinces—Galilee being the northern, Judea thesouthern, and Samaria the central province. The province of Galilee was under the jurisdiction ofHerod Antipas, the brother of Archelaus, his father having left him that and Perea, on the east sideof the Jordan, as his share of the kingdom, with the title of tetrarch, which Augustus confirmed.Though crafty and licentious, according to Josephus—precisely what the Gospel history shows himto be (see on Mr 6:14-30; Lu 13:31-35)—he was of a less cruel disposition than Archelaus; andNazareth being a good way off from the seat of government, and considerably secluded, it wassafer to settle there.23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth—a small town in Lower Galilee, lyingin the territory of the tribe of Zebulun, and about equally distant from the Mediterranean Sea onthe west and the Sea of Galilee on the east. Note—If, from Lu 2:39, one would conclude that theparents of Jesus brought Him straight back to Nazareth after His presentation in the temple—as ifthere had been no visit of the Magi, no flight to Egypt, no stay there, and no purpose on returningto settle again at Bethlehem—one might, from our Evangelist's way of speaking here, equallyconclude that the parents of our Lord had never been at Nazareth until now. Did we know exactlythe sources from which the matter of each of the Gospels was drawn up, or the mode in which thesewere used, this apparent discrepancy would probably disappear at once. In neither case is there anyinaccuracy. At the same time it is difficult, with these facts before us, to conceive that either ofthese two Evangelists wrote his Gospel with that of the other before him—though many think thisa precarious inference.1843JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthat it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called aNazarene—better, perhaps, "Nazarene." The best explanation of the origin of this name appearsto be that which traces it to the word netzer in Isa 11:1—the small twig, sprout, or sucker, whichthe prophet there says, "shall come forth from the stem (or rather, 'stump') of Jesse, the branchwhich should fructify from his roots." The little town of Nazareth, mentioned neither in the OldTestament nor in Josephus, was probably so called from its insignificance: a weak twig in contrastto a stately tree; and a special contempt seemed to rest upon it—"Can any good thing come out ofNazareth?" (Joh 1:46)—over and above the general contempt in which all Galilee was held, fromthe number of Gentiles that settled in the upper territories of it, and, in the estimation of the Jews,debased it. Thus, in the providential arrangement by which our Lord was brought up at theinsignificant and opprobrious town called Nazareth, there was involved, first, a local humiliation;next, an allusion to Isaiah's prediction of His lowly, twig-like upspringing from the branchless,dried-up stump of Jesse; and yet further, a standing memorial of that humiliation which "theprophets," in a number of the most striking predictions, had attached to the Messiah.CHAPTER 3Mt 3:1-12. Preaching and Ministry of John. ( = Mr 1:1-8; Lu 3:1-18).For the proper introduction to this section, we must go to Lu 3:1, 2. Here, as Bengel well observes,the curtain of the New Testament is, as it were, drawn up, and the greatest of all epochs of theChurch commences. Even our Lord's own age is determined by it (Lu 3:23). No such elaboratechronological precision is to be found elsewhere in the New Testament, and it comes fitly fromhim who claims it as the peculiar recommendation of his Gospel, that "he had traced down all thingswith precision from the very first" (Mt 1:3). Here evidently commences his proper narrative.Lu 3:1:Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar—not the fifteenthfrom his full accession on the death of Augustus, but from the period when he wasassociated with him in the government of the empire, three years earlier, about theend of the year of Rome 779, or about four years before the usual reckoning.Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea—His proper title was procurator, butwith more than the usual powers of that office. After holding it for about ten years,he was summoned to Rome to answer to charges brought against him; but ere hearrived, Tiberius died (A.D. 35), and soon after miserable Pilate committed suicide.And Herod being tetrarch of Galilee—(See on Mr 6:14).and his brother Philip—a very different and very superior Philip to the onewhose name was Herod Philip, and whose wife, Herodias, went to live with HerodAntipas (see on Mr 6:17).tetrarch of Ituræa—lying to the northeast of Palestine, and so called from Ituror Jetur, Ishmael's son (1Ch 1:31), and anciently belonging to the half-tribe ofManasseh.1844JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand of the region of Trachonitis—lying farther to the northeast, between Itureaand Damascus; a rocky district infested by robbers, and committed by Augustus toHerod the Great to keep in order.and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene—still more to the northeast; so called,says Robinson, from Abila, eighteen miles from Damascus.Lu 3:2:Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests—The former, though deposed,retained much of his influence, and, probably, as sagan or deputy, exercised muchof the power of the high priesthood along with Caiaphas, his son-in-law (Joh 18:13;Ac 4:6). In David's time both Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests (2Sa 15:35),and it seems to have been the fixed practice to have two (2Ki 25:18).the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness—Sucha way of speaking is never once used when speaking of Jesus, because He wasHimself The Living Word; whereas to all merely creature-messengers of God, theword they spoke was a foreign element. See on Joh 3:31. We are now prepared forthe opening words of Matthew.1. In those days—of Christ's secluded life at Nazareth, where the last chapter left Him.came John the Baptist, preaching—about six months before his Master.in the wilderness of Judea—the desert valley of the Jordan, thinly peopled and bare in pasture,a little north of Jerusalem.2. And saying, Repent ye—Though the word strictly denotes a change of mind, it has respecthere (and wherever it is used in connection with salvation) primarily to that sense of sin which leadsthe sinner to flee from the wrath to come, to look for relief only from above, and eagerly to fall inwith the provided remedy.for the kingdom of heaven is at hand—This sublime phrase, used in none of the other Gospels,occurs in this peculiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being suggested by Daniel's grandvision of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of days, to receive Hisinvestiture in a world-wide kingdom (Da 7:13, 14), it was fitted at once both to meet the nationalexpectations and to turn them into the right channel. A kingdom for which repentance was theproper preparation behooved to be essentially spiritual. Deliverance from sin, the great blessing ofChrist's kingdom (Mt 1:21), can be valued by those only to whom sin is a burden (Mt 9:12). John'sgreat work, accordingly, was to awaken this feeling and hold out the hope of a speedy and preciousremedy.3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying—(Mt 11:3).The voice of one crying in the wilderness—(See on Lu 3:2); the scene of his ministrycorresponding to its rough nature.Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight—This prediction is quoted in allthe four Gospels, showing that it was regarded as a great outstanding one, and the predictedforerunner as the connecting link between the old and the new economies. Like the great ones ofthe earth, the Prince of peace was to have His immediate approach proclaimed and His way prepared;and the call here—taking it generally—is a call to put out of the way whatever would obstruct Hisprogress and hinder His complete triumph, whether those hindrances were public or personal,1845JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonoutward or inward. In Luke (Lu 3:5, 6) the quotation is thus continued: "Every valley shall be filled,and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and therough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God." Levelling andsmoothing are here the obvious figures whose sense is conveyed in the first words of theproclamation—"Prepare ye the way of the Lord." The idea is that every obstruction shall be soremoved as to reveal to the whole world the salvation of God in Him whose name is the "Saviour."(Compare Ps 98:3; Isa 11:10; 49:6; 52:10; Lu 2:31, 32; Ac 13:47).4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair—woven of it.and a leathern girdle about his loins—the prophetic dress of Elijah (2Ki 1:8; and see Zec13:4).and his meat was locusts—the great, well-known Eastern locust, a food of the poor (Le 11:22).and wild honey—made by wild bees (1Sa 14:25, 26). This dress and diet, with the shrill cryin the wilderness, would recall the stern days of Elijah.5. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round aboutJordan—From the metropolitan center to the extremities of the Judean province the cry of thisgreat preacher of repentance and herald of the approaching Messiah brought trooping penitents andeager expectants.6. And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins—probably confessing aloud.This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt need of deliverance from sin, of their expectationof the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to welcome Him when He appeared. The baptismitself startled, and was intended to startle, them. They were familiar enough with the baptism ofproselytes from heathenism; but this baptism of Jews themselves was quite new and strange tothem.7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he saidunto them—astonished at such a spectacle.O generation of vipers—"Viper brood," expressing the deadly influence of both sects alikeupon the community. Mutually and entirely antagonistic as were their religious principles and spirit,the stern prophet charges both alike with being the poisoners of the nation's religious principles.In Mt 12:34; 23:33, this strong language of the Baptist is anew applied by the faithful and trueWitness to the Pharisees specifically—the only party that had zeal enough actively to diffuse thispoison.who hath warned you—given you the hint, as the idea is.to flee from the wrath to come?—"What can have brought you hither?" John more thansuspected it was not so much their own spiritual anxieties as the popularity of his movement thathad drawn them thither. What an expression is this, "The wrath to come!" God's "wrath," in Scripture,is His righteous displeasure against sin, and consequently against all in whose skirts sin is found,arising out of the essential and eternal opposition of His nature to all moral evil. This is called "thecoming wrath," not as being wholly future—for as a merited sentence it lies on the sinner already,and its effects, both inward and outward, are to some extent experienced even now—but becausethe impenitent sinner will not, until "the judgment of the great day," be concluded under it, willnot have sentence publicly and irrevocably passed upon him, will not have it discharged upon himand experience its effects without mixture and without hope. In this view of it, it is a wrath whollyto come, as is implied in the noticeably different form of the expression employed by the apostlein 1Th 1:10. Not that even true penitents came to John's baptism with all these views of "the wrath1846JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto come." But what he says is that this was the real import of the step itself. In this view of it, howstriking is the word he employs to express that step—fleeing from it—as of one who, beholding atide of fiery wrath rolling rapidly towards him, sees in instant flight his only escape!8. Bring forth therefore fruits—the true reading clearly is "fruit";meet for repentance—that is, such fruit as befits a true penitent. John now being gifted witha knowledge of the human heart, like a true minister of righteousness and lover of souls here directsthem how to evidence and carry out their repentance, supposing it genuine; and in the followingverses warns them of their danger in case it were not.9. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father—that pillowon which the nation so fatally reposed, that rock on which at length it split.for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham—thatis, "Flatter not yourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in need of you, to make good Hispromise of a seed to Abraham; for I tell you that, though you were all to perish, God is as able toraise up a seed to Abraham out of those stones as He was to take Abraham himself out of the rockwhence he was hewn, out of the hole of the pit whence he was digged" (Isa 51:1). Though the sternspeaker may have pointed as he spoke to the pebbles of the bare clay hills that lay around (so Stanley'sSinai and Palestine), it was clearly the calling of the Gentiles—at that time stone-dead in their sins,and quite as unconscious of it—into the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that he meantthus to indicate (see Mt 21:43; Ro 11:20, 30).10. And now also—And even already.the axe is laid unto—"lieth at."the root of the trees—as it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of impending judgment,only to be averted in the way next described.therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into thefire—Language so personal and individual as this can scarcely be understood of any nationaljudgment like the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with the breaking up of the Jewish polityand the extrusion of the chosen people from their peculiar privileges which followed it; though thiswould serve as the dark shadow, cast before, of a more terrible retribution to come. The "fire,"which in another verse is called "unquenchable," can be no other than that future "torment" of theimpenitent whose "smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever," and which by the Judge Himself isstyled "everlasting punishment" (Mt 25:46). What a strength, too, of just indignation is in that word"cast" or "flung into the fire!"The third Gospel here adds the following important particulars in Lu 3:10-16.Lu 3:10:And the people—the multitudes.asked him, saying, What shall we do then?—that is, to show the sincerity ofour repentance.Lu 3:11:He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart tohim that hath none; and he that hath meat—provisions, victuals.let him do likewise—This is directed against the reigning avarice and selfishness.(Compare the corresponding precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, Mt 5:40-42).1847JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLu 3:12:Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him,Master—Teacher.what shall we do?—In what special way is the genuineness of our repentanceto be manifested?Lu 3:13:And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you—Thisis directed against that extortion which made the publicans a byword. (See on Mt5:46; Lu 15:1).Lu 3:14:And the soldiers—rather, "And soldiers"—the word means "soldiers on activeduty."likewise demanded—asked.of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence tono man—Intimidate. The word signifies to "shake thoroughly," and refers probablyto the extorting of money or other property.neither accuse any falsely—by acting as informers vexatiously on frivolous orfalse pretexts.and be content with your wages—or "rations." We may take this, say Websterand Wilkinson, as a warning against mutiny, which the officers attempted to suppressby largesses and donations. And thus the "fruits" which would evidence theirrepentance were just resistance to the reigning sins—particularly of the class towhich the penitent belonged—and the manifestation of an opposite spirit.Lu 3:15:And as the people were in expectation—in a state of excitement, looking forsomething newand all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, ornot—rather, "whether he himself might be the Christ." The structure of this clauseimplies that they could hardly think it, but yet could not help asking themselveswhether it might not be; showing both how successful he had been in awakeningthe expectation of Messiah's immediate appearing, and the high estimation and evenreverence, which his own character commanded.Lu 3:16:John answered—either to that deputation from Jerusalem, of which we read inJoh 1:19, &c., or on some other occasion, to remove impressions derogatory to hisblessed Master, which he knew to be taking hold of the popular mind.saying unto them all—in solemn protestation.(We now return to the first Gospel.)11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance—(See on Mt 3:6);but he that cometh after me is mightier than I—In Mark and Luke this is moreemphatic—"But there cometh the Mightier than I" (Mr 1:7; Lu 3:16).whose shoes—sandals.1848JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonI am not worthy to bear—The sandals were tied and untied, and borne about by the meanestservants.he shall baptize you—the emphatic "He": "He it is," to the exclusion of all others, "that shallbaptize you."with the Holy Ghost—"So far from entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the honorsof Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that 'Mightier than I that is coming after me'are too high an honor for me; I am but the servant, but the Master is coming; I administer but theoutward symbol of purification; His it is, as His sole prerogative, to dispense the inward reality."Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ throughout!and with fire—To take this as a distinct baptism from that of the Spirit—a baptism of theimpenitent with hell-fire—is exceedingly unnatural. Yet this was the view of Origen among theFathers; and among moderns, of Neander, Meyer, De Wette, and Lange. Nor is it much better to refer itto the fire of the great day, by which the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.Clearly, as we think, it is but the fiery character of the Spirit's operations upon the soul—searching,consuming, refining, sublimating—as nearly all good interpreters understand the words. And thus,in two successive clauses, the two most familiar emblems—water and fire—are employed to setforth the same purifying operations of the Holy Ghost upon the soul.12. Whose fan—winnowing fan.is in his hand—ready for use. This is no other than the preaching of the Gospel, even nowbeginning, the effect of which would be to separate the solid from the spiritually worthless, aswheat, by the winnowing fan, from the chaff. (Compare the similar representation in Mal 3:1-3).and he will throughly purge his floor—threshing-floor; that is, the visible Church.and gather his wheat—His true-hearted saints; so called for their solid worth (compare Am9:9; Lu 22:31).into the garner—"the kingdom of their Father," as this "garner" or "barn" is beautifullyexplained by our Lord in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Mt 13:30, 43).but he will burn up the chaff—empty, worthless professors of religion, void of all solidreligious principle and character (see Ps 1:4).with unquenchable fire—Singular is the strength of this apparent contradiction of figures:—tobe burnt up, but with a fire that is unquenchable; the one expressing the utter destruction of all thatconstitutes one's true life, the other the continued consciousness of existence in that awful condition.Luke adds the following important particulars (Lu 3:18-20):Lu 3:18:And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto thepeople—showing that we have here but an abstract of his teaching. Besides whatwe read in Joh 1:29, 33, 34; 3:27-36, the incidental allusion to his having taught hisdisciples to pray (Lu 11:1)—of which not a word is said elsewhere—shows howvaried his teaching was.Lu 3:19:But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip'swife, and for all the evils which Herod had done—In this last clause we have animportant fact, here only mentioned, showing how thoroughgoing was the fidelity1849JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof the Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must have been the workings ofconscience in that slave of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he "didmany things, and heard John gladly" (Mr 6:20).Lu 3:20:Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison—This imprisonmentof John, however, did not take place for some time after this; and it is here recordedmerely because the Evangelist did not intend to recur to his history till he hadoccasion to relate the message which he sent to Christ from his prison at Machærus(Lu 7:18, &c.).Mt 3:13-17. Baptism of Christ and Descent of the Spirit upon Him Immediately Thereafter. ( = Mr 1:9-11; Lu3:21, 22; Joh 1:31-34).Baptism of Christ (Mt 3:13-15).13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him—Mosesrashly anticipated the divine call to deliver his people, and for this was fain to flee the house ofbondage, and wait in obscurity for forty years more (Ex 2:11, &c.). Not so this greater than Moses.All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at Nazareth, gradually ripening for His publicwork, and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father. Now it had arrived; and this movementfrom Galilee to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interest to all heaven since that first onewhich brought Him into the world. Luke (Lu 3:21) has this important addition—"Now when allthe people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus being baptized," &c.—implying that Jesuswaited till all other applicants for baptism that day had been disposed of, ere He stepped forward,that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon anass "whereon yet never man sat" (Lu 19:30), and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never man yetlaid" (Joh 19:41), so in His baptism, too. He would be "separate from sinners."14. But John forbade him—rather, "was (in the act of) hindering him," or "attempting to hinderhim."saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?—(How John came torecognize Him, when he says he knew Him not, see on John 1. 31-34.) The emphasis of this mostremarkable speech lies all in the pronouns: "What! Shall the Master come for baptism to theservant—the sinless Saviour to a sinner?" That thus much is in the Baptist's words will be clearlyseen if it be observed that he evidently regarded Jesus as Himself needing no purification but ratherqualified to impart it to those who did. And do not all his other testimonies to Christ fully bear outthis sense of the words? But it were a pity if, in the glory of this testimony to Christ, we shouldmiss the beautiful spirit in which it was borne—"Lord, must I baptize Thee? Can I bring myself todo such a thing?"—reminding us of Peter's exclamation at the supper table, "Lord, dost Thou washmy feet?" while it has nothing of the false humility and presumption which dictated Peter's nextspeech. "Thou shalt never wash my feet" (Joh 13:6, 8).15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now—"Let it pass for the present";that is, "Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the presentcase do as thou art bidden."for thus it becometh us—"us," not in the sense of "me and thee," or "men in general," but asin Joh 3:11.1850JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto fulfil all righteousness—If this be rendered, with Scrivener, "every ordinance," or, withCampbell, "every institution," the meaning is obvious enough; and the same sense is brought out by"all righteousness," or compliance with everything enjoined, baptism included. Indeed, if this bethe meaning, our version perhaps best brings out the force of the opening word "Thus." But weincline to think that our Lord meant more than this. The import of circumcision and of baptismseems to be radically the same. And if our remarks on the circumcision of our Lord (see on Lu2:21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said, "Thus do I impledge Myself to the wholerighteousness of the Law—thus symbolically do enter on and engage to fulfil it all." Let thethoughtful reader weigh this.Then he suffered him—with true humility, yielding to higher authority than his own impressionsof propriety.Descent of the Spirit upon the Baptized Redeemer (Mt 3:16, 17).16. And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water—rather, "fromthe water." Mark has "out of the water" (Mr 1:10). "and"—adds Luke (Lu 3:21), "while He waspraying"; a grand piece of information. Can there be a doubt about the burden of that prayer; aprayer sent up, probably, while yet in the water—His blessed head suffused with the baptismalelement; a prayer continued likely as He stepped out of the stream, and again stood upon the dryground; the work before Him, the needed and expected Spirit to rest upon Him for it, and the gloryHe would then put upon the Father that sent Him—would not these fill His breast, and find silentvent in such form as this?—"Lo, I come; I delight to do Thy will, O God. Father, glorify Thy name.Show Me a token for good. Let the Spirit of the Lord God come upon Me, and I will preach theGospel to the poor, and heal the broken-hearted, and send forth judgment unto victory." While Hewas yet speaking—lo, the heavens were opened—Mark says, sublimely, "He saw the heavens cleaving" (Mr1:10).and he saw the Spirit of God descending—that is, He only, with the exception of His honoredservant, as he tells us himself (Joh 1:32-34); the by-standers apparently seeing nothing.like a dove, and lighting upon him—Luke says, "in a bodily shape" (Lu 3:22); that is, theblessed Spirit, assuming the corporeal form of a dove, descended thus upon His sacred head. Butwhy in this form? The Scripture use of this emblem will be our best guide here. "My dove, myundefiled is one," says the Song of Solomon (So 6:9). This is chaste purity. Again, "Be ye harmlessas doves," says Christ Himself (Mt 10:16). This is the same thing, in the form of inoffensivenesstowards men. "A conscience void of offense toward God and toward men" (Ac 24:16) expressesboth. Further, when we read in the Song of Solomon (So 2:14), "O my dove, that art in the cleftsof the rocks, in the secret places of the stairs (see Isa 60:8), let me see thy countenance, let me hearthy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely"—it is shrinking modesty, meekness,gentleness, that is thus charmingly depicted. In a word—not to allude to the historical emblem ofthe dove that flew back to the ark, bearing in its mouth the olive leaf of peace (Ge 8:11)—whenwe read (Ps 68:13), "Ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers withyellow gold," it is beauteousness that is thus held forth. And was not such that "holy, harmless,undefiled One," the "separate from sinners?" "Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace ispoured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever!" But the fourth Gospel gives usone more piece of information here, on the authority of one who saw and testified of it: "John barerecord, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and IT ABODE UPON Him." And1851JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonlest we should think that this was an accidental thing, he adds that this last particular was expresslygiven him as part of the sign by which he was to recognize and identify Him as the Son of God:"And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Uponwhom thou shalt see the Spirit descending AND REMAINING ON Him, the same is He which baptizethwith the Holy Ghost. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God" (Joh 1:32-34). Andwhen with this we compare the predicted descent of the Spirit upon Messiah (Isa 11:2), "And theSpirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him," we cannot doubt that it was this permanent and perfectresting of the Holy Ghost upon the Son of God—now and henceforward in His official capacity—thatwas here visibly manifested.17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is—Mark and Luke give it in the direct form,"Thou art." (Mr 1:11; Lu 3:22).my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased—The verb is put in the aorist to express absolutecomplacency, once and for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least to modern ears, isscarcely strong enough. "I delight" comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable complacency whichis manifestly intended; and this is the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry thethoughts back to that august Messianic prophecy to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded(Isa 42:1), "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, IN WHOM My soul delighteth." Nor arethe words which follow to be overlooked, "I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forthjudgment to the Gentiles." (The Septuagint perverts this, as it does most of the Messianic predictions,interpolating the word "Jacob," and applying it to the Jews). Was this voice heard by the by-standers?From Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so designed; but it would appear that it was not,and probably John only heard and saw anything peculiar about that great baptism. Accordingly,the words, "Hear ye Him," are not added, as at the Transfiguration.CHAPTER 4Mt 4:1-11. Temptation of Christ. ( = Mr 1:12, 13; Lu 4:1-13).1. Then—an indefinite note of sequence. But Mark's word (Mr 1:12) fixes what we shouldhave presumed was meant, that it was "immediately" after His baptism; and with this agrees thestatement of Luke (Lu 4:1).was Jesus led up—that is, from the low Jordan valley to some more elevated spot.of the Spirit—that blessed Spirit immediately before spoken of as descending upon Him atHis baptism, and abiding upon Him. Luke, connecting these two scenes, as if the one were but thesequel of the other, says, "Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led,"&c. Mark's expression has a startling sharpness about it—"Immediately the Spirit driveth Him"(Mr 1:12), "putteth," or "hurrieth Him forth," or "impelleth Him." (See the same word in Mr 1:43;5:40; Mt 9:25; 13:52; Joh 10:4). The thought thus strongly expressed is the mighty constrainingimpulse of the Spirit under which He went; while Matthew's more gentle expression, "was led up,"intimates how purely voluntary on His own part this action was.into the wilderness—probably the wild Judean desert. The particular spot which tradition hasfixed upon has hence got the name of Quarantana or Quarantaria, from the forty days—"an almostperpendicular wall of rock twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the plain" [Robinson, Palestine]. The1852JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsupposition of those who incline to place the temptation amongst the mountains of Moab is, wethink, very improbable.to be tempted—The Greek word (peirazein) means simply to try or make proof of; and whenascribed to God in His dealings with men, it means, and can mean no more than this. Thus, Ge22:1, "It came to pass that God did tempt Abraham," or put his faith to a severe proof. (See De 8:2).But for the most part in Scripture the word is used in a bad sense, and means to entice, solicit, orprovoke to sin. Hence the name here given to the wicked one—"the tempter" (Mt 4:3). Accordingly"to be tempted" here is to be understood both ways. The Spirit conducted Him into the wildernesssimply to have His faith tried; but as the agent in this trial was to be the wicked one, whose wholeobject would be to seduce Him from His allegiance to God, it was a temptation in the bad sense ofthe term. The unworthy inference which some would draw from this is energetically repelled byan apostle (Jas 1:13-17).of the devil—The word signifies a slanderer—one who casts imputations upon another. Hencethat other name given him (Re 12:10), "The accuser of the brethren, who accuseth them before ourGod day and night." Mark (Mr 1:13) says, "He was forty days tempted of Satan," a word signifyingan adversary, one who lies in wait for, or sets himself in opposition to another. These and othernames of the same fallen spirit point to different features in his character or operations. What wasthe high design of this? First, as we judge, to give our Lord a taste of what lay before Him in thework He had undertaken; next, to make trial of the glorious equipment for it which He had justreceived; further, to give Him encouragement, by the victory now to be won, to go forward spoilingprincipalities and powers, until at length He should make a show of them openly, triumphing overthem in His cross: that the tempter, too, might get a taste, at the very outset, of the new kind ofmaterial in man which he would find he had here to deal with; finally, that He might acquireexperimental ability "to succor them that are tempted" (Heb 2:18). The temptation evidentlyembraced two stages: the one continuing throughout the forty days' fast; the other, at the conclusionof that period.First Stage:2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights—Luke says "When they were quiteended" (Lu 4:2).he was afterward an hungered—evidently implying that the sensation of hunger was unfeltduring all the forty days; coming on only at their close. So it was apparently with Moses (Ex 34:28)and Elijah (1Ki 19:8) for the same period. A supernatural power of endurance was of course impartedto the body, but this probably operated through a natural law—the absorption of the Redeemer'sSpirit in the dread conflict with the tempter. (See on Ac 9:9). Had we only this Gospel, we shouldsuppose the temptation did not begin till after this. But it is clear, from Mark's statement, that "Hewas in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan" (Mr 1:13), and Luke's, "being forty days temptedof the devil" (Lu 4:2), that there was a forty days' temptation before the three specific temptationsafterwards recorded. And this is what we have called the First Stage. What the precise nature andobject of the forty days' temptation were is not recorded. But two things seem plain enough. First,the tempter had utterly failed of his object, else it had not been renewed; and the terms in whichhe opens his second attack imply as much. But further, the tempter's whole object during the fortydays evidently was to get Him to distrust the heavenly testimony borne to Him at His baptism asTHE Son of God—to persuade Him to regard it as but a splendid illusion—and, generally, to dislodgefrom His breast the consciousness of His Sonship. With what plausibility the events of His previous1853JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhistory from the beginning would be urged upon Him in support of this temptation it is easy toimagine. And it makes much in support of this view of the forty days' temptation that the particularsof it are not recorded; for how the details of such a purely internal struggle could be recorded it ishard to see. If this be correct, how naturally does the Second Stage of the temptation open! In Mark'sbrief notice of the temptation there is one expressive particular not given either by Matthew or byLuke—that "He was with the wild beasts" (Mr 1:12), no doubt to add terror to solitude, and aggravatethe horrors of the whole scene.3. And when the tempter came to him—Evidently we have here a new scene.he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread—rather,"loaves," answering to "stones" in the plural; whereas Luke, having said, "Command this stone,"in the singular, adds, "that it be made bread," in the singular (Lu 4:3). The sensation of hunger,unfelt during all the forty days, seems now to have come on in all its keenness—no doubt to opena door to the tempter, of which he is not slow to avail himself; "Thou still clingest to that vaingloriousconfidence that Thou art the Son of God, carried away by those illusory scenes at the Jordan. Thouwast born in a stable; but Thou art the Son of God! hurried off to Egypt for fear of Herod's wrath;but Thou art the Son of God! a carpenter's roof supplied Thee with a home, and in the obscurity ofa despicable town of Galilee Thou hast spent thirty years, yet still Thou art the Son of God! and avoice from heaven, it seems, proclaimed it in Thine ears at the Jordan! Be it so; but after that, surelyThy days of obscurity and trial should have an end. Why linger for weeks in this desert, wanderingamong the wild beasts and craggy rocks, unhonored, unattended, unpitied, ready to starve for wantof the necessaries of life? Is this befitting "the Son of God?" At the bidding of "the Son of God"surely those stones shall all be turned into loaves, and in a moment present an abundant repast."4. But he answered and said, It is written—(De 8:3).Man shall not live by bread alone—more emphatically, as in the Greek, "Not by bread aloneshall man live."but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God—Of all passages in OldTestament Scripture, none could have been pitched upon more apposite, perhaps not one so apposite,to our Lord's purpose. "The Lord … led thee (said Moses to Israel, at the close of their journeyings)these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thineheart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no. And He humbled thee, and sufferedthee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know;that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only," &c., "Now, if Israel spent,not forty days, but forty years in a waste, howling wilderness, where there were no means of humansubsistence, not starving, but divinely provided for, on purpose to prove to every age that humansupport depends not upon bread, but upon God's unfailing word of promise and pledge of all needfulprovidential care, am I, distrusting this word of God, and despairing of relief, to take the law intoMy own hand? True, the Son of God is able enough to turn stones into bread: but what the Son ofGod is able to do is not the present question, but what is man's duty under want of the necessariesof life. And as Israel's condition in the wilderness did not justify their unbelieving murmurings andfrequent desperation, so neither would Mine warrant the exercise of the power of the Son of Godin snatching despairingly at unwarranted relief. As man, therefore, I will await divine supply,nothing doubting that at the fitting time it will arrive." The second temptation in this Gospel is inLuke's the third. That Matthew's order is the right one will appear, we think, quite clearly in thesequel.1854JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. Then the devil taketh him up—rather, "conducteth Him."into the holy city—so called (as in Isa 48:2; Ne 11:1) from its being "the city of the GreatKing," the seat of the temple, the metropolis of all Jewish worship.and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple—rather, "the pinnacle"—a certain well-knownprojection. Whether this refers to the highest summit of the temple, which bristled with goldenspikes [Josephus, Antiquities, 5.5,6]; or whether it refers to another peak, on Herod's royal portico,overhanging the ravine of Kedron, at the valley of Hinnom—an immense tower built on the veryedge of this precipice, from the top of which dizzy height Josephus says one could not look to thebottom [Antiquities, 15.11,5]—is not certain; but the latter is probably meant.6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God—As this temptation starts with the samepoint as the first—our Lord's determination not to be disputed out of His Sonship—it seems to usclear that the one came directly after the other; and as the remaining temptation shows that the hopeof carrying that point was abandoned, and all was staked upon a desperate venture, we think thatremaining temptation is thus shown to be the last; as will appear still more when we come to it.cast thyself down—"from hence" (Lu 4:9).for it is written—(Ps 91:11, 12). "But what is this I see?" exclaims stately Bishop Hall. "Satanhimself with a Bible under his arm and a text in his mouth!" Doubtless the tempter, having felt thepower of God's Word in the former temptation, was eager to try the effect of it from his own mouth(2Co 11:14).He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands—rather, "on their hands."they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone—The quotationis, precisely as it stands in the Hebrew and the Septuagint, save that after the first clause the words,"to keep thee in all thy ways," are here omitted. Not a few good expositors have thought that thisomission was intentional, to conceal the fact that this would not have been one of "His ways," thatis, of duty. But as our Lord's reply makes no allusion to this, but seizes on the great principleinvolved in the promise quoted, so when we look at the promise itself, it is plain that the sense ofit is precisely the same whether the clause in question be inserted or not.7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again—(De 6:16), as if he should say, "True, it is sowritten, and on that promise I implicitly rely; but in using it there is another Scripture which mustnot be forgotten."Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God—"Preservation in danger is divinely pledged: shallI then create danger, either to put the promised security skeptically to the proof, or wantonly todemand a display of it? That were 'to tempt the Lord my God,' which, being expressly forbidden,would forfeit the right to expect preservation."8. Again, the devil taketh him up—"conducteth him," as before.into—or "unto"an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and theglory of them—Luke (Lu 4:5) adds the important clause, "in a moment of time"; a clause whichseems to furnish a key to the true meaning. That a scene was presented to our Lord's natural eyeseems plainly expressed. But to limit this to the most extensive scene which the natural eye couldtake in, is to give a sense to the expression, "all the kingdoms of the world," quite violent. It remains,then, to gather from the expression, "in a moment of time"—which manifestly is intended to intimatesome supernatural operation—that it was permitted to the tempter to extend preternaturally for amoment our Lord's range of vision, and throw a "glory" or glitter over the scene of vision: a thing1855JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonnot inconsistent with the analogy of other scriptural statements regarding the permitted operationsof the wicked one. In this case, the "exceeding height" of the "mountain" from which this sight wasbeheld would favor the effect to be produced.9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee—"and the glory of them," adds Luke(Lu 4:6). But Matthew having already said that this was "showed Him," did not need to repeat ithere. Luke (Lu 4:6) adds these other very important clauses, here omitted—"for that is," or "hasbeen," "delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it." Was this wholly false? That werenot like Satan's unusual policy, which is to insinuate his lies under cover of some truth. What truth,then, is there here? We answer, Is not Satan thrice called by our Lord Himself, "the prince of thisworld" (Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)? Does not the apostle call him "the god of this world" (2Co 4:4)?And still further, is it not said that Christ came to destroy by His death "him that hath the power ofdeath, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14)? No doubt these passages only express men's voluntary subjectionto the rule of the wicked one while they live, and his power to surround death to them, when itcomes, with all the terrors of the wages of sin. But as this is a real and terrible sway, so all Scripturerepresents men as righteously sold under it. In this sense he speaks what is not devoid of truth,when he says, "All this is delivered unto me." But how does he deliver this "to whomsoever hewill?" As employing whomsoever he pleases of his willing subjects in keeping men under hispower. In this case his offer to our Lord was that of a deputed supremacy commensurate with hisown, though as his gift and for his ends.if thou wilt fall down and worship me—This was the sole but monstrous condition. NoScripture, it will be observed, is quoted now, because none could be found to support so blasphemousa claim. In fact, he has ceased now to present his temptations under the mask of piety, and he standsout unblushingly as the rival of God Himself in his claims on the homage of men. Despairing ofsuccess as an angel of light, he throws off all disguise, and with a splendid bribe solicits divinehonor. This again shows that we are now at the last of the temptations, and that Matthew's order isthe true one.10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan—Since the tempter has now thrownoff the mask, and stands forth in his true character, our Lord no longer deals with him as a pretendedfriend and pious counsellor, but calls him by his right name—His knowledge of which from theoutset He had carefully concealed till now—and orders him off. This is the final and conclusiveevidence, as we think, that Matthew's must be the right order of the temptations. For who can wellconceive of the tempter's returning to the assault after this, in the pious character again, and hopingstill to dislodge the consciousness of His Sonship, while our Lord must in that case be supposed toquote Scripture to one He had called the devil to his face—thus throwing His pearls before worsethan swine?for it is written—(De 6:13). Thus does our Lord part with Satan on the rock of Scripture.Thou shalt worship—In the Hebrew and the Septuagint it is, "Thou shalt fear"; but as thesense is the same, so "worship" is here used to show emphatically that what the tempter claimedwas precisely what God had forbidden.the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve—The word "serve" in the second clause,is one never used by the Septuagint of any but religious service; and in this sense exclusively is itused in the New Testament, as we find it here. Once more the word "only," in the second clause—notexpressed in the Hebrew and the Septuagint—is here added to bring out emphatically the negative1856JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand prohibitory feature of the command. (See Ga 3:10 for a similar supplement of the word "all"in a quotation from De 27:26).11. Then the devil leaveth him—Luke says, "And when the devil had exhausted"—or "quiteended," as in Lu 4:2—"every (mode of) temptation, he departed from him till a season." The definite"season" here indicated is expressly referred to by our Lord in Joh 14:30 and Lu 22:52, 53.and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him—or supplied Him with food, as the sameexpression means in Mr 1:31 and Lu 8:3. Thus did angels to Elijah (1Ki 19:5-8). Excellent criticsthink that they ministered, not food only, but supernatural support and cheer also. But this wouldbe the natural effect rather than the direct object of the visit, which was plainly what we haveexpressed. And after having refused to claim the illegitimate ministration of angels in His behalf,oh, with what deep joy would He accept their services when sent, unasked, at the close of all thistemptation, direct from Him whom He had so gloriously honored! What "angels' food" would thisrepast be to Him! and as He partook of it, might not a Voice from heaven be heard again, by anywho could read the Father's mind, "Said I not well, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am wellpleased?"Mt 4:12-25. Christ Begins His Galilean Ministry—Calling of Peter and Andrew, James and John—His FirstGalilean Circuit. ( = Mr 1:14-20, 35-39; Lu 4:14, 15).There is here a notable gap in the history, which but for the fourth Gospel we should neverhave discovered. From the former Gospels we should have been apt to draw three inferences, whichfrom the fourth one we know to be erroneous: First, that our Lord awaited the close of John'sministry, by his arrest and imprisonment, before beginning His own; next, that there was but a briefinterval between the baptism of our Lord and the imprisonment of John; and further, that our Lordnot only opened His work in Galilee, but never ministered out of it, and never visited Jerusalem atall nor kept a passover till He went thither to become "our Passover, sacrificed for us." The fourthGospel alone gives the true succession of events; not only recording those important openings ofour Lord's public work which preceded the Baptist's imprisonment—extending to the end of thethird chapter—but so specifying the passover which occurred during our Lord's ministry as toenable us to line off, with a large measure of certainty, the events of the first three Gospels accordingto the successive passovers which they embraced. Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian, who, earlyin the fourth century, gave much attention to this subject, in noticing these features of the EvangelicalRecords, says [Ecclesiastical History, 3.24] that John wrote his Gospel at the entreaty of those whoknew the important materials he possessed, and filled up what is wanting in the first three Gospels.Why it was reserved for the fourth Gospel, published at so late a period, to supply such importantparticulars in the life of Christ, it is not easy to conjecture with any probability. It may be, thatthough not unacquainted with the general facts, they were not furnished with reliable details. Butone thing may be affirmed with tolerable certainty, that as our Lord's teaching at Jerusalem was ofa depth and grandeur scarcely so well adapted to the prevailing character of the first three Gospels,but altogether congenial to the fourth; and as the bare mention of the successive passovers, withoutany account of the transactions and discourses they gave rise to, would have served little purposein the first three Gospels, there may have been no way of preserving the unity and consistency ofeach Gospel, so as to furnish by means of them all the precious information we get from them, saveby the plan on which they are actually constructed.Entry into Galilee (Mt 4:12-17).1857JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison—more simply, "was deliveredup," as recorded in Mt 14:3-5; Mr 6:17-20; Lu 3:19, 20.he departed—rather, "withdrew."into Galilee—as recorded, in its proper place, in Joh 4:1-3.13. And leaving Nazareth—The prevalent opinion is that this refers to a first visit to Nazarethafter His baptism, whose details are given by Luke (Lu 4:16, &c.); a second visit being that detailedby our Evangelist (Mt 13:54-58), and by Mark (Mr 6:1-6). But to us there seem all but insuperabledifficulties in the supposition of two visits to Nazareth after His baptism; and on the grounds statedin Lu 4:16, &c., we think that the one only visit to Nazareth is that recorded by Matthew (Mt13:53-58), Mark (Mr 6:1-6), and Luke (Lu 4:14-30). But how, in that case, are we to take the word"leaving Nazareth" here? We answer, just as the same word is used in Ac 21:3, "Now when we hadsighted Cyprus, and left it on the left, we sailed into Syria,"—that is, without entering Cyprus atall, but merely "sighting" it, as the nautical phrase is, they steered southeast of it, leaving it on thenorthwest. So here, what we understand the Evangelist to say is, that Jesus, on His return to Galilee,did not, as might have been expected, make Nazareth the place of His stated residence, but, "leaving[or passing by] Nazareth,"he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast—maritime Capernaum, onthe northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee; but the precise spot is unknown. (See on Mt 11:23). OurLord seems to have chosen it for several reasons. Four or five of the Twelve lived there; it had aconsiderable and mixed population, securing some freedom from that intense bigotry which evento this day characterizes all places where Jews in large numbers dwell nearly alone; it was centrical,so that not only on the approach of the annual festivals did large numbers pass through it or nearit, but on any occasion multitudes could easily be collected about it; and for crossing and recrossingthe lake, which our Lord had so often occasion to do, no place could be more convenient. But oneother high reason for the choice of Capernaum remains to be mentioned, the only one specified byour Evangelist.in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim—the one lying to the west of the Sea of Galilee,the other to the north of it; but the precise boundaries cannot now be traced out.14. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet—(Isa 9:1, 2 or, asin Hebrew, Isaiah 8:23, and 9:1).saying—as follows:15. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea—the coastskirting the Sea of Galilee westward—beyond Jordan—a phrase commonly meaning eastward ofJordan; but here and in several places it means westward of the Jordan. The word seems to havegot the general meaning of "the other side"; the nature of the case determining which side that was.Galilee of the Gentiles—so called from its position, which made it the frontier between theHoly Land and the external world. While Ephraim and Judah, as Stanley says, were separated fromthe world by the Jordan valley on one side and the hostile Philistines on another, the northern tribeswere in the direct highway of all the invaders from the north, in unbroken communication with thepromiscuous races who have always occupied the heights of Lebanon, and in close and peacefulalliance with the most commercial nation of the ancient world, the Phoenicians. Twenty of the citiesof Galilee were actually annexed by Solomon to the adjacent kingdom of Tyre, and formed, withtheir territory, the "boundary" or "offscouring" (Gebul or Cabul) of the two dominions—at a latertime still known by the general name of "the boundaries (coasts or borders) of Tyre and Sidon." In1858JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe first great transportation of the Jewish population, Naphtali and Galilee suffered the same fateas the trans-jordanic tribes before Ephraim or Judah had been molested (2Ki 15:29). In the time ofthe Christian era this original disadvantage of their position was still felt; the speech of the Galileans"bewrayed them" by its uncouth pronunciation (Mt 26:73); and their distance from the seats ofgovernment and civilization at Jerusalem and Cæsarea gave them their character for turbulence orindependence, according as it was viewed by their friends or their enemies.16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the regionand shadow of death light is sprung up—The prophetic strain to which these words belongcommences with the seventh chapter of Isaiah, to which the sixth chapter is introductory, and goesdown to the end of the twelfth chapter, which hymns the spirit of that whole strain of prophecy. Itbelongs to the reign of Ahaz and turns upon the combined efforts of the two neighboring kingdomsof Syria and Israel to crush Judah. In these critical circumstances Judah and her king were, by theirungodliness, provoking the Lord to sell them into the hands of their enemies. What, then, is theburden of this prophetic strain, on to the passage here quoted? First, Judah shall not, cannot perish,because Immanuel, the Virgin's Son, is to come forth from his loins. Next, one of the invaders shallsoon perish, and the kingdoms of neither be enlarged. Further, while the Lord will be the Sanctuaryof such as confide in these promises and await their fulfilment, He will drive to confusion, darkness,and despair the vast multitude of the nation who despised His oracles, and, in their anxiety anddistress, betook themselves to the lying oracles of the heathen. This carries us down to the end ofthe eighth chapter. At the opening of the ninth chapter a sudden light is seen breaking in upon oneparticular part of the country, the part which was to suffer most in these wars and devastations—"theland of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee and theGentiles." The rest of the prophecy stretches over both the Assyrian and the Chaldean captivitiesand terminates in the glorious Messianic prophecy of the eleventh chapter and the choral hymn ofthe twelfth chapter. Well, this is the point seized on by our Evangelist. By Messiah's taking up Hisabode in those very regions of Galilee, and shedding His glorious light upon them, this prediction,He says, of the Evangelical prophet was now fulfilled; and if it was not thus fulfilled, we mayconfidently affirm it was not fulfilled in any age of the Jewish ceremony, and has received nofulfilment at all. Even the most rationalistic critics have difficulty in explaining it in any other way.17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heavenis at hand—Thus did our Lord not only take up the strain, but give forth the identical summons ofHis honored forerunner. Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come—in Hisown Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only "at hand" until the blood of the cross wasshed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to theworld at large.Calling of Peter and Andrew James and John (Mt 4:18-22).18. And Jesus, walking—The word "Jesus" here appears not to belong to the text, but to havebeen introduced from those portions of it which were transcribed to be used as church lessons;where it was naturally introduced as a connecting word at the commencement of a lesson.by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother,casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers—"called Peter" for the reason mentioned in Mt16:18.19. And he saith unto them, Follow me—rather, as the same expression is rendered in Mark,"Come ye after Me" (Mr 1:17).1859JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand I will make you fishers of men—raising them from a lower to a higher fishing, as Davidwas from a lower to a higher feeding (Ps 78:70-72).20. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.21. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, andJohn his brother, in a ship—rather, "in the ship," their fishing boat.with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them.22. And they immediately left the ship and their father—Mark adds an important clause:"They left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants" (Mr 1:20); showing that thefamily were in easy circumstances.and followed him—Two harmonistic questions here arise: First, Was this the same calling asthat recorded in Joh 1:35-42? Clearly not. For, (1) That call was given while Jesus was yet in Judea:this, after His return to Galilee. (2) Here, Christ calls Andrew: there, Andrew solicits an interviewwith Christ. (3) Here, Andrew and Peter are called together: there, Andrew having been called,with an unnamed disciple, who was clearly the beloved disciple (see on Joh 1:40), goes and fetchesPeter his brother to Christ, who then calls him. (4) Here, John is called along with James his brother:there, John is called along with Andrew, after having at their own request had an interview withJesus; no mention being made of James, whose call, if it then took place, would not likely havebeen passed over by his own brother. Thus far nearly all are agreed. But on the next question opinionis divided: Was this the same calling as that recorded in Lu 5:1-11? Many able critics think so. Butthe following considerations are to us decisive against it. First here, the four are called separately,in pairs: in Luke, all together. Next, in Luke, after a glorious miracle: here, the one pair are castingtheir net, the other are mending theirs. Further, here, our Lord had made no public appearance inGalilee, and so had gathered none around Him; He is walking solitary by the shores of the lakewhen He accosts the two pairs of fishermen: in Luke, the multitude are pressing upon Him, andhearing the word of God, as He stands by the Lake of Gennesaret—a state of things implying asomewhat advanced stage of His early ministry, and some popular enthusiasm. Regarding thesesuccessive callings, see on Lu 5:1.First Galilean Circuit (Mt 4:23-25).23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues—These were houses oflocal worship. It cannot be proved that they existed before the Babylonish captivity; but as theybegan to be erected soon after it, probably the idea was suggested by the religious inconveniencesto which the captives had been subjected. In our Lord's time, the rule was to have one whereverten learned men or professed students of the law resided; and they extended to Syria, Asia Minor,Greece, and most places of the dispersion. The larger towns had several, and in Jerusalem thenumber approached five hundred. In point of officers and mode of worship, the Christiancongregations are modelled after the synagogue.and preaching the gospel of the kingdom—proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom,and healing all manner of sickness—every disease.and all manner of disease among the people—every complaint. The word means any incipientmalady causing "softness."24. And his fame went throughout all Syria—reaching first to the part of it adjacent to Galilee,called Syro-Phoenicia (Mr 7:26), and thence extending far and wide.and they brought unto him all sick people—all that were ailing or unwell. Those1860JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthat were taken—for this is a distinct class, not an explanation of the "unwell" class, as ourtranslators understood it.with divers diseases and torments—that is, acute disorders.and those which were possessed with devils—that were demonized or possessed with demons.and those which were lunatic—moon-struck.and those that had the palsy—paralytics, a word not naturalized when our version was made.and he healed them—These healings were at once His credentials and illustrations of "theglad tidings" which He proclaimed. After reading this account of our Lord's first preaching tour,can we wonder at what follows?25. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis—aregion lying to the east of the Jordan, so called as containing ten cities, founded and chiefly inhabitedby Greek settlers.and from Jerusalem, and from beyond Jordan—meaning from Perea. Thus not only was allPalestine upheaved, but all the adjacent regions. But the more immediate object for which this ishere mentioned is, to give the reader some idea both of the vast concourse and of the variedcomplexion of eager attendants upon the great Preacher, to whom the astonishing discourse of thenext three chapters was addressed. On the importance which our Lord Himself attached to this firstpreaching circuit, and the preparation which He made for it, see on Mr 1:35-39.CHAPTERS 5-8Sermon on the Mount.That this is the same Discourse as that in Lu 6:17-49—only reported more fully by Matthew,and less fully, as well as with considerable variation, by Luke—is the opinion of many very ablecritics (of the Greek commentators; of Calvin, Grotius, Maldonatus—Who stands almost alone amongRomish commentators; and of most moderns, as Tholuck, Meyer, De Wette, Tischendorf, Stier, Wieseler,Robinson). The prevailing opinion of these critics is that Luke's is the original form of the discourse,to which Matthew has added a number of sayings, uttered on other occasions, in order to give atone view the great outlines of our Lord's ethical teaching. But that they are two distinctdiscourses—the one delivered about the close of His first missionary tour, and the other after asecond such tour and the solemn choice of the Twelve—is the judgment of others who have givenmuch attention to such matters (of most Romish commentators, including Erasmus; and among themoderns, of Lange, Greswell, Birks, Webster and Wilkinson. The question is left undecided by Alford).Augustine's opinion—that they were both delivered on one occasion, Matthew's on the mountain,and to the disciples; Luke's in the plain, and to the promiscuous multitude—is so clumsy andartificial as hardly to deserve notice. To us the weight of argument appears to lie with those whothink them two separate discourses. It seems hard to conceive that Matthew should have put thisdiscourse before his own calling, if it was not uttered till long after, and was spoken in his ownhearing as one of the newly chosen Twelve. Add to this, that Matthew introduces his discourseamidst very definite markings of time, which fix it to our Lord's first preaching tour; while that ofLuke, which is expressly said to have been delivered immediately after the choice of the Twelve,could not have been spoken till long after the time noted by Matthew. It is hard, too, to see howeither discourse can well be regarded as the expansion or contraction of the other. And as it is1861JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbeyond dispute that our Lord repeated some of His weightier sayings in different forms, and withvaried applications, it ought not to surprise us that, after the lapse of perhaps a year—when, havingspent a whole night on the hill in prayer to God, and set the Twelve apart, He found Himselfsurrounded by crowds of people, few of whom probably had heard the Sermon on the Mount, andfewer still remembered much of it—He should go over its principal points again, with just as muchsameness as to show their enduring gravity, but at the same time with that difference which showsHis exhaustless fertility as the great Prophet of the Church.CHAPTER 5Mt 5:1-16. The Beatitudes, and Their Bearing upon the World.1. And seeing the multitudes—those mentioned in Mt 4:25.he went up into a mountain—one of the dozen mountains which Robinson says there are in thevicinity of the Sea of Galilee, any one of them answering about equally well to the occasion. Socharming is the whole landscape that the descriptions of it, from Josephus downwards [Wars of theJews, 4.10,8], are apt to be thought a little colored.and when he was set—had sat or seated Himself.his disciples came unto him—already a large circle, more or less attracted and subdued byHis preaching and miracles, in addition to the smaller band of devoted adherents. Though the latteronly answered to the subjects of His kingdom, described in this discourse, there were drawn fromtime to time into this inner circle souls from the outer one, who, by the power of His matchlessword, were constrained to forsake their all for the Lord Jesus.2. And he opened his mouth—a solemn way of arousing the reader's attention, and preparinghim for something weighty. (Job 9:1; Ac 8:35; 10:34).and taught them, saying—as follows.3. Blessed—Of the two words which our translators render "blessed," the one here used pointsmore to what is inward, and so might be rendered "happy," in a lofty sense; while the other denotesrather what comes to us from without (as Mt 25:34). But the distinction is not always clearly carriedout. One Hebrew word expresses both. On these precious Beatitudes, observe that though eight innumber, there are here but seven distinct features of character. The eighth one—the "persecutedfor righteousness' sake"—denotes merely the possessors of the seven preceding features, on accountof which it is that they are persecuted (2Ti 3:12). Accordingly, instead of any distinct promise tothis class, we have merely a repetition of the first promise. This has been noticed by several critics,who by the sevenfold character thus set forth have rightly observed that a complete character ismeant to be depicted, and by the sevenfold blessedness attached to it, a perfect blessedness isintended. Observe, again, that the language in which these Beatitudes are couched is purposelyfetched from the Old Testament, to show that the new kingdom is but the old in a new form; whilethe characters described are but the varied forms of that spirituality which was the essence of realreligion all along, but had well-nigh disappeared under corrupt teaching. Further, the things herepromised, far from being mere arbitrary rewards, will be found in each case to grow out of thecharacters to which they are attached, and in their completed form are but the appropriate coronationof them. Once more, as "the kingdom of heaven," which is the first and the last thing here promised,1862JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhas two stages—a present and a future, an initial and a consummate stage—so the fulfilment ofeach of these promises has two stages—a present and a future, a partial and a perfect stage.3. Blessed are the poor in spirit—All familiar with Old Testament phraseology know howfrequently God's true people are styled "the poor" (the "oppressed," "afflicted," "miserable") or"the needy"—or both together (as in Ps 40:17; Isa 41:17). The explanation of this lies in the factthat it is generally "the poor of this world" who are "rich in faith" (Jas 2:5; compare 2Co 6:10; Re2:9); while it is often "the ungodly" who "prosper in the world" (Ps 73:12). Accordingly, in Lu6:20, 21, it seems to be this class—the literally "poor" and "hungry"—that are specially addressed.But since God's people are in so many places styled "the poor" and "the needy," with no evidentreference to their temporal circumstances (as in Ps 68:10; 69:29-33; 132:15; Isa 61:1; 66:2), it isplainly a frame of mind which those terms are meant to express. Accordingly, our translatorssometimes render such words "the humble" (Ps 10:12, 17), "the meek" (Ps 22:26), "the lowly" (Pr3:34), as having no reference to outward circumstances. But here the explanatory words, "in spirit,"fix the sense to "those who in their deepest consciousness realize their entire need" (compare theGreek of Lu 10:21; Joh 11:33; 13:21; Ac 20:22; Ro 12:11; 1Co 5:3; Php 3:3). This self-emptyingconviction, that "before God we are void of everything," lies at the foundation of all spiritualexcellence, according to the teaching of Scripture. Without it we are inaccessible to the riches ofChrist; with it we are in the fitting state for receiving all spiritual supplies (Re 3:17, 18; Mt 9:12,13).for theirs is the kingdom of heaven—(See on Mt 3:2). The poor in spirit not only shallhave—they already have—the kingdom. The very sense of their poverty is begun riches. Whileothers "walk in a vain show"—"in a shadow," "an image"—in an unreal world, taking a false viewof themselves and all around them—the poor in spirit are rich in the knowledge of their real case.Having courage to look this in the face, and own it guilelessly, they feel strong in the assurancethat "unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" (Ps 112:4); and soon it breaks forth as themorning. God wants nothing from us as the price of His saving gifts; we have but to feel ouruniversal destitution, and cast ourselves upon His compassion (Job 33:27, 28; 1Jo 1:9). So the poorin spirit are enriched with the fulness of Christ, which is the kingdom in substance; and when Heshall say to them from His great white throne, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdomprepared for you," He will invite them merely to the full enjoyment of an already possessedinheritance.4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted—This "mourning" must not betaken loosely for that feeling which is wrung from men under pressure of the ills of life, nor yetstrictly for sorrow on account of committed sins. Evidently it is that entire feeling which the senseof our spiritual poverty begets; and so the second beatitude is but the complement of the first. Theone is the intellectual, the other the emotional aspect of the same thing. It is poverty of spirit thatsays, "I am undone"; and it is the mourning which this causes that makes it break forth in the formof a lamentation—"Woe is me! for I am undone." Hence this class are termed "mourners in Zion,"or, as we might express it, religious mourners, in sharp contrast with all other sorts (Isa 61:1-3;66:2). Religion, according to the Bible, is neither a set of intellectual convictions nor a bundle ofemotional feelings, but a compound of both, the former giving birth to the latter. Thus closely dothe first two beatitudes cohere. The mourners shall be "comforted." Even now they get beauty forashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Sowing in tears,they reap even here in joy. Still, all present comfort, even the best, is partial, interrupted, short-lived.1863JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonBut the days of our mourning shall soon be ended, and then God shall wipe away all tears from oureyes. Then, in the fullest sense, shall the mourners be "comforted."5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth—This promise to the meek is but arepetition of Ps 37:11; only the word which our Evangelist renders "the meek," after the Septuagint,is the same which we have found so often translated "the poor," showing how closely allied thesetwo features of character are. It is impossible, indeed, that "the poor in spirit" and "the mourners"in Zion should not at the same time be "meek"; that is to say, persons of a lowly and gentle carriage.How fitting, at least, it is that they should be so, may be seen by the following touching appeal:"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready toevery good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness untoall men: FOR WE OURSELVES WERE ONCE FOOLISH, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts andpleasures … But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared: …according to His mercy He saved us," &c. (Tit 3:1-7). But He who had no such affecting reasonsfor manifesting this beautiful carriage, said, nevertheless, of Himself, "Take My yoke upon you,and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mt11:29); and the apostle besought one of the churches by "the meekness and gentleness of Christ"(2Co 10:1). In what esteem this is held by Him who seeth not as man seeth, we may learn from1Pe 3:4, where the true adorning is said to be that of "a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight ofGod is of great price." Towards men this disposition is the opposite of high-mindedness, and aquarrelsome and revengeful spirit; it "rather takes wrong, and suffers itself to be defrauded" (1Co6:7); it "avenges not itself, but rather gives place unto wrath" (Ro 12:19); like the meek One, "whenreviled, it reviles not again; when it suffers, it threatens not: but commits itself to Him that judgethrighteously" (1Pe 2:19-22). "The earth" which the meek are to inherit might be rendered "theland"—bringing out the more immediate reference to Canaan as the promised land, the securepossession of which was to the Old Testament saints the evidence and manifestation of God's favorresting on them, and the ideal of all true and abiding blessedness. Even in the Psalm from whichthese words are taken the promise to the meek is not held forth as an arbitrary reward, but as havinga kind of natural fulfilment. When they delight themselves in the Lord, He gives them the desiresof their heart: when they commit their way to Him, He brings it to pass; bringing forth theirrighteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noonday: the little that they have, even whendespoiled of their rights, is better than the riches of many wicked (Ps 37:1-24). All things, in short,are theirs—in the possession of that favor which is life, and of those rights which belong to themas the children of God—whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come;all are theirs (1Co 3:21, 22); and at length, overcoming, they "inherit all things" (Re 21:7). Thusare the meek the only rightful occupants of a foot of ground or a crust of bread here, and heirs ofall coming things.6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall befilled—"shall be saturated." "From this verse," says Tholuck, "the reference to the Old Testamentbackground ceases." Surprising! On the contrary, none of these beatitudes is more manifestly dugout of the rich mine of the Old Testament. Indeed, how could any one who found in the OldTestament "the poor in spirit," and "the mourners in Zion," doubt that he would also find thosesame characters also craving that righteousness which they feel and mourn their want of? But whatis the precise meaning of "righteousness" here? Lutheran expositors, and some of our own, seemto have a hankering after that more restricted sense of the term in which it is used with reference1864JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto the sinner's justification before God. (See Jer 23:6; Isa 45:24; Ro 4:6; 2Co 5:21). But, in socomprehensive a saying as this, it is clearly to be taken—as in Mt 5:10 also—in a much widersense, as denoting that spiritual and entire conformity to the law of God, under the want of whichthe saints groan, and the possession of which constitutes the only true saintship. The Old Testamentdwells much on this righteousness, as that which alone God regards with approbation (Ps 11:7;23:3; 106:3; Pr 12:28; 16:31; Isa 64:5, &c.). As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites,our Lord, by employing this figure here, plainly means "those whose deepest cravings are afterspiritual blessings." And in the Old Testament we find this craving variously expressed: "Hearkenunto Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord" (Isa 51:1); "I have waited forThy salvation, O Lord," exclaimed dying Jacob (Ge 49:18); "My soul," says the sweet Psalmist,"breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments at all times" (Ps 119:20): and in similarbreathings does he give vent to his deepest longings in that and other Psalms. Well, our Lord justtakes up here—this blessed frame of mind, representing it as—the surest pledge of the covetedsupplies, as it is the best preparative, and indeed itself the beginning of them. "They shall besaturated," He says; they shall not only have what they so highly value and long to possess, butthey shall have their fill of it. Not here, however. Even in the Old Testament this was well understood."Deliver me," says the Psalmist, in language which, beyond all doubt, stretches beyond the presentscene, "from men of the world, which have their portion in this life: as for me, I shall behold Thyface in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Ps 17:13-15). Theforegoing beatitudes—the first four—represent the saints rather as conscious of their need ofsalvation, and acting suitably to that character, than as possessed of it. The next three are of adifferent kind—representing the saints as having now found salvation, and conducting themselvesaccordingly.7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy—Beautiful is the connection betweenthis and the preceding beatitude. The one has a natural tendency to beget the other. As for the words,they seem directly fetched from Ps 18:25, "With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful."Not that our mercifulness comes absolutely first. On the contrary, our Lord Himself expresslyteaches us that God's method is to awaken in us compassion towards our fellow men by His ownexercise of it, in so stupendous a way and measure, towards ourselves. In the parable of theunmerciful debtor, the servant to whom his lord forgave ten thousand talents was naturally expectedto exercise the small measure of the same compassion required for forgiving his fellow servant'sdebt of a hundred pence; and it is only when, instead of this, he relentlessly imprisoned him till heshould pay it up, that his lord's indignation was roused, and he who was designed for a vessel ofmercy is treated as a vessel of wrath (Mt 18:23-35; and see Mt 5:23, 24; 6:15; Jas 2:13). "Accordingto the view given in Scripture," says Trench most justly, "the Christian stands in a middle point,between a mercy received and a mercy yet needed. Sometimes the first is urged upon him as anargument for showing mercy—'forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you' (Col 3:13; Eph 4:32):sometimes the last—'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy'; 'Forgive, and ye shallbe forgiven' (Lu 6:37; Jas 5:9). And thus, while he is ever to look back on the mercy received asthe source and motive of the mercy which he shows, he also looks forward to the mercy which heyet needs, and which he is assured that the merciful—according to what Bengel beautifully calls thebenigna talio ('the gracious requital') of the kingdom of God—shall receive, as a new provocationto its abundant exercise." The foretastes and beginnings of this judicial recompense are richlyexperienced here below: its perfection is reserved for that day when, from His great white throne,1865JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe King shall say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you fromthe foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and thirsty, and a stranger, and naked, and sick,and in prison, and ye ministered unto Me." Yes, thus He acted towards us while on earth, evenlaying down His life for us; and He will not, He cannot disown, in the merciful, the image ofHimself.8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God—Here, too, we are on Old Testamentground. There the difference between outward and inward purity, and the acceptableness of thelatter only in the sight of God, are everywhere taught. Nor is the "vision of God" strange to the OldTestament; and though it was an understood thing that this was not possible in the present life (Ex33:20; and compare Job 19:26, 27; Isa 6:5), yet spiritually it was known and felt to be the privilegeof the saints even here (Ge 5:24; 6:9; 17:1; 48:15; Ps 27:4; 36:9; 63:2; Isa 38:3, 11, &c.). But oh,with what grand simplicity, brevity, and power is this great fundamental truth here expressed! Andin what striking contrast would such teaching appear to that which was then current, in whichexclusive attention was paid to ceremonial purification and external morality! This heart puritybegins in a "heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," or a "conscience purged from dead works"(Heb 10:22; 9:14; and see Ac 15:9); and this also is taught in the Old Testament (Ps 32:1, 2; compareRo 4:5-8; Isa 6:5-8). The conscience thus purged—the heart thus sprinkled—there is light withinwherewith to see God. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie,and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one withthe other"—He with us and we with Him—"and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us"—uswho have this fellowship, and who, without such continual cleansing, would soon lose itagain—"from all sin" (1Jo 1:6, 7). "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him"(1Jo 3:6); "He that doeth evil hath not seen God" (3Jo 11). The inward vision thus clarified, andthe whole inner man in sympathy with God, each looks upon the other with complacency and joy,and we are "changed into the same image from glory to glory." But the full and beatific vision ofGod is reserved for that time to which the Psalmist stretches his views—"As for me, I shall beholdThy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Ps 17:15). Thenshall His servants serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads(Re 22:3, 4). They shall see Him as He is (1Jo 3:2). But, says the apostle, expressing the converseof this beatitude—"Follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb 12:14).9. Blessed are the peacemakers—who not only study peace, but diffuse it.for they shall be called the children of God—shall be called sons of God. Of all thesebeatitudes this is the only one which could hardly be expected to find its definite ground in the OldTestament; for that most glorious character of God, the likeness of which appears in the peacemakers,had yet to be revealed. His glorious name, indeed—as "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful andgracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgressionand sin"—had been proclaimed in a very imposing manner (Ex 34:6), and manifested in actionwith affecting frequency and variety in the long course of the ancient economy. And we haveundeniable evidence that the saints of that economy felt its transforming and ennobling influenceon their own character. But it was not till Christ "made peace by the blood of the cross" that Godcould manifest Himself as "the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, thatgreat Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb 13:20)—couldreveal Himself as "in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses untothem," and hold Himself forth in the astonishing attitude of beseeching men to be "reconciled to1866JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonHimself" (2Co 5:19, 20). When this reconciliation actually takes place, and one has "peace withGod through our Lord Jesus Christ"—even "the peace of God which passeth all understanding"—thepeace-receivers become transformed into peace-diffusers. God is thus seen reflected in them; andby the family likeness these peacemakers are recognized as the children of God. In now coming tothe eighth, or supplementary beatitude, it will be seen that all that the saints are in themselves hasbeen already described, in seven features of character; that number indicating completeness ofdelineation. The last feature, accordingly, is a passive one, representing the treatment that thecharacters already described may expect from the world. He who shall one day fix the destiny ofall men here pronounces certain characters "blessed"; but He ends by forewarning them that theworld's estimation and treatment of them will be the reserve of His.10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, &c.—How entirely thisfinal beatitude has its ground in the Old Testament, is evident from the concluding words, wherethe encouragement held out to endure such persecutions consists in its being but a continuation ofwhat was experienced by the Old Testament servants of God. But how, it may be asked, could suchbeautiful features of character provoke persecution? To this the following answers should suffice:"Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should bereproved." "The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the worksthereof are evil." "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are notof the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." "There is yetone man (said wicked Ahab to good Jehoshaphat) by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hatehim; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil" (Joh 3:20; 7:7; 15:19; 2Ch 18:7). Butmore particularly, the seven characters here described are all in the teeth of the spirit of the world,insomuch that such hearers of this discourse as breathed that spirit must have been startled, andhad their whole system of thought and action rudely dashed. Poverty of spirit runs counter to thepride of men's heart; a pensive disposition, in the view of one's universal deficiencies before God,is ill relished by the callous, indifferent, laughing, self-satisfied world; a meek and quiet spirit,taking wrong, is regarded as pusillanimous, and rasps against the proud, resentful spirit of the world;that craving after spiritual blessings rebukes but too unpleasantly the lust of the flesh, the lust ofthe eye, and the pride of life; so does a merciful spirit the hard-heartedness of the world; purity ofheart contrasts painfully with painted hypocrisy; and the peacemaker cannot easily be endured bythe contentious, quarrelsome world. Thus does "righteousness" come to be "persecuted." But blessedare they who, in spite of this, dare to be righteous.for theirs is the kingdom of heaven—As this was the reward promised to the poor in spirit—theleading one of these seven beatitudes—of course it is the proper portion of such as are persecutedfor exemplifying them.11. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you—or abuse you to your face, in opposition tobackbiting. (See Mr 15:32).and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for mysake—Observe this. He had before said, "for righteousness' sake." Here He identifies Himself andHis cause with that of righteousness, binding up the cause of righteousness in the world with thereception of Himself. Would Moses, or David, or Isaiah, or Paul have so expressed themselves?Never. Doubtless they suffered for righteousness' sake. But to have called this "their sake," would,as every one feels, have been very unbecoming. Whereas He that speaks, being Righteousnessincarnate (see Mr 1:24; Ac 3:14; Re 3:7), when He so speaks, speaks only like Himself.1867JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad—"exult." In the corresponding passage of Luke (Lu 6:22,23), where every indignity trying to flesh and blood is held forth as the probable lot of such as werefaithful to Him, the word is even stronger than here: "leap," as if He would have their inwardtransport to overpower and absorb the sense of all these affronts and sufferings; nor will anythingelse do it.for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were beforeyou:—that is, "You do but serve yourselves heirs to their character and sufferings, and the rewardwill be common."13-16. We have here the practical application of the foregoing principles to those disciples whosat listening to them, and to their successors in all time. Our Lord, though He began by pronouncingcertain characters to be blessed—without express reference to any of His hearers—does not closethe beatitudes without intimating that such characters were in existence, and that already they werebefore Him. Accordingly, from characters He comes to persons possessing them, saying, "Blessedare ye when men shall revile you," &c. (Mt 5:11). And now, continuing this mode of direct personaladdress, He startles those humble, unknown men by pronouncing them the exalted benefactors oftheir whole species.Ye are the salt of the earth—to preserve it from corruption, to season its insipidity, to freshenand sweeten it. The value of salt for these purposes is abundantly referred to by classical writersas well as in Scripture; and hence its symbolical significance in the religious offerings as well ofthose without as of those within the pale of revealed religion. In Scripture, mankind, under theunrestrained workings of their own evil nature, are represented as entirely corrupt. Thus, beforethe flood (Ge 6:11, 12); after the flood (Ge 8:21); in the days of David (Ps 14:2, 3); in the days ofIsaiah (Isa 1:5, 6); and in the days of Paul (Eph 2:1-3; see also Job 14:4; 15:15, 16; Joh 3:6; comparedwith Ro 8:8; Tit 3:2, 3). The remedy for this, says our Lord here, is the active presence of Hisdisciples among their fellows. The character and principles of Christians, brought into close contactwith it, are designed to arrest the festering corruption of humanity and season its insipidity. Buthow, it may be asked, are Christians to do this office for their fellow men, if their righteousnessonly exasperate them, and recoil, in every form of persecution, upon themselves? The answer is:That is but the first and partial effect of their Christianity upon the world: though the great proportionwould dislike and reject the truth, a small but noble band would receive and hold it fast; and in thestruggle that would ensue, one and another even of the opposing party would come over to Hisranks, and at length the Gospel would carry all before it.but if the salt have lost his savour—"become unsavory" or "insipid"; losing its saline or saltingproperty. The meaning is: If that Christianity on which the health of the world depends, does inany age, region, or individual, exist only in name, or if it contain not those saving elements for wantof which the world languishes,wherewith shall it be salted?—How shall the salting qualities be restored to it? (Compare Mr9:50). Whether salt ever does lose its saline property—about which there is a difference ofopinion—is a question of no moment here. The point of the case lies in the supposition—that if itshould lose it, the consequence would be as here described. So with Christians. The question isnot: Can, or do, the saints ever totally lose that grace which makes them a blessing to their fellowmen? But, What is to be the issue of that Christianity which is found wanting in those elementswhich can alone stay the corruption and season the tastelessness of an all-pervading carnality? Therestoration or non-restoration of grace, or true living Christianity, to those who have lost it, has, in1868JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonour judgment, nothing at all to do here. The question is not, If a man lose his grace, how shall thatgrace be restored to him? but, Since living Christianity is the only "salt of the earth," if men losethat, what else can supply its place? What follows is the appalling answer to this question.it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out—a figurative expression of indignantexclusion from the kingdom of God (compare Mt 8:12; 22:13; Joh 6:37; 9:34).and to be trodden under foot of men—expressive of contempt and scorn. It is not the merewant of a certain character, but the want of it in those whose profession and appearance were fittedto beget expectation of finding it.14. Ye are the light of the world—This being the distinctive title which our Lord appropriatesto Himself (Joh 8:12; 9:5; and see Joh 1:4, 9; 3:19; 12:35, 36)—a title expressly said to be unsuitableeven to the highest of all the prophets (Joh 1:8)—it must be applied here by our Lord to His disciplesonly as they shine with His light upon the world, in virtue of His Spirit dwelling in them, and thesame mind being in them which was also in Christ Jesus. Nor are Christians anywhere else socalled. Nay, as if to avoid the august title which the Master has appropriated to Himself, Christiansare said to "shine"—not as "lights," as our translators render it, but—"as luminaries in the world"(Php 2:15); and the Baptist is said to have been "the burning and shining"—not "light," as in ourtranslation, but "lamp" of his day (Joh 5:35). Let it be observed, too, that while the two figures ofsalt and sunlight both express the same function of Christians—their blessed influence on theirfellow men—they each set this forth under a different aspect. Salt operates internally, in the masswith which it comes in contact; the sunlight operates externally, irradiating all that it reaches. HenceChristians are warily styled "the salt of the earth"—with reference to the masses of mankind withwhom they are expected to mix; but "the light of the world"—with reference to the vast andvariegated surface which feels its fructifying and gladdening radiance. The same distinction isobservable in the second pair of those seven parables which our Lord spoke from the GalileanLake—that of the "mustard seed," which grew to be a great overshadowing tree, answering to thesunlight which invests the world, and that of the "leaven," which a woman took and, like the salt,hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (Mt 13:31-33).A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid—nor can it be supposed to have been so built exceptto be seen by many eyes.15. Neither do men light a candle—or, lamp.and put it under a bushel—a dry measure.but on a candlestick—rather, "under the bushel, but on the lampstand." The article is insertedin both cases to express the familiarity of everyone with those household utensils.and it giveth light—shineth "unto all that are in the house."16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifyyour Father which is in heaven—As nobody lights a lamp only to cover it up, but places it soconspicuously as to give light to all who need light, so Christians, being the light of the world,instead of hiding their light, are so to hold it forth before men that they may see what a life thedisciples of Christ lead, and seeing this, may glorify their Father for so redeeming, transforming,and ennobling earth's sinful children, and opening to themselves the way to like redemption andtransformation.Mt 5:17-48. Identity of These Principles with Those of the Ancient Economy; in Contrast with the ReigningTraditional Teaching.Exposition of Principles (Mt 5:17-20).1869JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. Think not that I am come—that I came.to destroy the law, or the prophets—that is, "the authority and principles of the Old Testament."(On the phrase, see Mt 7:12; 22:40; Lu 16:16; Ac 13:15). This general way of taking the phrase ismuch better than understanding "the law" and "the prophets" separately, and inquiring, as manygood critics do, in what sense our Lord could be supposed to meditate the subversion of each. Tothe various classes of His hearers, who might view such supposed abrogation of the law and theprophets with very different feelings, our Lord's announcement would, in effect, be such as this—"Yewho tremble at the word of the Lord, fear not that I am going to sweep the foundation from underyour feet: Ye restless and revolutionary spirits, hope not that I am going to head any revolutionarymovement: And ye who hypocritically affect great reverence for the law and the prophets, pretendnot to find anything in My teaching derogatory to God's living oracles."I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil—Not to subvert, abrogate, or annul, but to establishthe law and the prophets—to unfold them, to embody them in living form, and to enshrine them inthe reverence, affection, and character of men, am I come.18. For verily I say unto you—Here, for the first time, does that august expression occur inour Lord's recorded teaching, with which we have grown so familiar as hardly to reflect on its fullimport. It is the expression manifestly, of supreme legislative authority; and as the subject inconnection with which it is uttered is the Moral Law, no higher claim to an authority strictly divinecould be advanced. For when we observe how jealously Jehovah asserts it as His exclusiveprerogative to give law to men (Le 18:1-5; 19:37; 26:1-4, 13-16, &c.), such language as this of ourLord will appear totally unsuitable, and indeed abhorrent, from any creature lips. When the Baptist'swords—"I say unto you" (Mt 3:9)—are compared with those of his Master here, the difference ofthe two cases will be at once apparent.Till heaven and earth pass—Though even the Old Testament announces the ultimate "perditionof the heavens and the earth," in contrast with the immutability of Jehovah (Ps 102:24-27), theprevalent representation of the heavens and the earth in Scripture, when employed as a popularfigure, is that of their stability (Ps 119:89-91; Ec 1:4; Jer 33:25, 26). It is the enduring stability,then, of the great truths and principles, moral and spiritual, of the Old Testament revelation whichour Lord thus expresses.one jot—the smallest of the Hebrew letters.one tittle—one of those little strokes by which alone some of the Hebrew letters are distinguishedfrom others like them.shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled—The meaning is that "not so much asthe smallest loss of authority or vitality shall ever come over the law." The expression, "till all befulfilled," is much the same in meaning as "it shall be had in undiminished and enduring honor,from its greatest to its least requirements." Again, this general way of viewing our Lord's wordshere seems far preferable to that doctrinal understanding of them which would require us todetermine the different kinds of "fulfilment" which the moral and the ceremonial parts of it wereto have.19. Whosoever therefore shall break—rather, "dissolve," "annul," or "make invalid."one of these least commandments—an expression equivalent to "one of the least of thesecommandments."and shall teach men so—referring to the Pharisees and their teaching, as is plain from Mt 5:20,but of course embracing all similar schools and teaching in the Christian Church.1870JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhe shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven—As the thing spoken of is not thepractical breaking, or disobeying, of the law, but annulling or enervating its obligation by a vicioussystem of interpretation, and teaching others to do the same; so the thing threatened is not exclusionfrom heaven, and still less the lowest place in it, but a degraded and contemptuous position in thepresent stage of the kingdom of God. In other words, they shall be reduced by the retributiveprovidence that overtakes them, to the same condition of dishonor to which, by their system andtheir teaching, they have brought down those eternal principles of God's law.but whosoever shall do and teach them—whose principles and teaching go to exalt theauthority and honor of God's law, in its lowest as well as highest requirements.the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven—shall, by that providence whichwatches over the honor of God's moral administration, be raised to the same position of authorityand honor to which they exalt the law.20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness ofthe scribes and Pharisees—The superiority to the Pharisaic righteousness here required is plainlyin kind, not degree; for all Scripture teaches that entrance into God's kingdom, whether in its presentor future stage, depends, not on the degree of our excellence in anything, but solely on our havingthe character itself which God demands. Our righteousness, then—if it is to contrast with theoutward and formal righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees—must be inward, vital, spiritual.Some, indeed, of the scribes and Pharisees themselves might have the very righteousness heredemanded; but our Lord is speaking, not of persons, but of the system they represented and taught.ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven—If this refer, as in Mt 5:19, rather tothe earthly stage of this kingdom, the meaning is that without a righteousness exceeding that of thePharisees, we cannot be members of it at all, save in name. This was no new doctrine (Ro 2:28, 29;9:6; Php 3:3). But our Lord's teaching here stretches beyond the present scene, to that everlastingstage of the kingdom, where without "purity of heart" none "shall see God."The Spirituality of the True Righteousness in Contrast with That of the Scribes and Pharisees,Illustrated from the Sixth Commandment. (Mt 5:21-26).21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time—or, as in the Margin, "to them ofold time." Which of these translations is the right one has been much controverted. Either of themis grammatically defensible, though the latter—"to the ancients"—is more consistent with NewTestament usage (see the Greek of Ro 9:12, 26; Re 6:11; 9:4); and most critics decide in favor ofit. But it is not a question of Greek only. Nearly all who would translate "to the ancients" take thespeaker of the words quoted to be Moses in the law; "the ancients" to be the people to whom Mosesgave the law; and the intention of our Lord here to be to contrast His own teaching, more or less,with that of Moses; either as opposed to it—as some go the length of affirming—or at least asmodifying, enlarging, elevating it. But who can reasonably imagine such a thing, just after the mostsolemn and emphatic proclamation of the perpetuity of the law, and the honor and glory in whichit was to be held under the new economy? To us it seems as plain as possible that our Lord's oneobject is to contrast the traditional perversions of the law with the true sense of it as expounded byHimself. A few of those who assent to this still think that "to the ancients" is the only legitimatetranslation of the words; understanding that our Lord is reporting what had been said to the ancients,not by Moses, but by the perverters of his law. We do not object to this; but we incline to think(with Beza, and after him with Fritzsche, Olshausen, Stier, and Bloomfield) that "by the ancients" must1871JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhave been what our Lord meant here, referring to the corrupt teachers rather than the pervertedpeople.Thou shall not kill:—that is, This being all that the law requires, whosoever has imbrued hishands in his brother's blood, but he only, is guilty of a breach of this commandment.and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment—liable to the judgment; thatis, of the sentence of those inferior courts of judicature which were established in all the principaltowns, in compliance with De 16:16. Thus was this commandment reduced, from a holy law of theheart-searching God, to a mere criminal statute, taking cognizance only of outward actions, suchas that which we read in Ex 21:12; Le 24:17.22. But I say unto you—Mark the authoritative tone in which—as Himself the Lawgiver andJudge—Christ now gives the true sense, and explains the deep reach, of the commandment.That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of thejudgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca! shall be in danger of the council;but whosoever shall say, Thou fool! shall be in danger of hell-fire—It is unreasonable to deny,as Alexander does, that three degrees of punishment are here meant to be expressed, and to say thatit is but a threefold expression of one and the same thing. But Romish expositors greatly err intaking the first two—"the judgment" and "the council"—to refer to degrees of temporal punishmentwith which lesser sins were to be visited under the Gospel, and only the last—"hell-fire"—to referto the future life. All three clearly refer to divine retribution, and that alone, for breaches of thiscommandment; though this is expressed by an allusion to Jewish tribunals. The "judgment," asalready explained, was the lowest of these; the "council," or "Sanhedrim,"—which sat atJerusalem—was the highest; while the word used for "hell-fire" contains an allusion to the "valleyof the son of Hinnom" (Jos 18:16). In this valley the Jews, when steeped in idolatry, went the lengthof burning their children to Molech "on the high places of Tophet"—in consequence of which goodJosiah defiled it, to prevent the repetition of such abominations (2Ki 23:10); and from that timeforward, if we may believe the Jewish writers, a fire was kept burning in it to consume the carrionand all kinds of impurities that collected about the capital. Certain it is, that while the finalpunishment of the wicked is described in the Old Testament by allusions to this valley of Tophetor Hinnom (Isa 30:33; 66:24), our Lord Himself describes the same by merely quoting these terrificdescriptions of the evangelical prophet (Mr 9:43-48). What precise degrees of unholy feelingtowards our brothers are indicated by the words "Raca" and "fool" it would be as useless as it isvain to inquire. Every age and every country has its modes of expressing such things; and no doubtour Lord seized on the then current phraseology of unholy disrespect and contempt, merely toexpress and condemn the different degrees of such feeling when brought out in words, as He hadimmediately before condemned the feeling itself. In fact, so little are we to make of mere words,apart from the feeling which they express, that as anger is expressly said to have been borne byour Lord towards His enemies though mixed with "grief for the hardness of their hearts" (Mr 3:5),and as the apostle teaches us that there is an anger which is not sinful (Eph 4:26); so in the Epistleof James (Jas 2:20) we find the words, "O vain (or, empty) man"; and our Lord Himself appliesthe very word "fools" twice in one breath to the blind guides of the people (Mt 23:17, 19)—although,in both cases, it is to false reasoners rather than persons that such words are applied. The spirit,then, of the whole statement may be thus given: "For ages ye have been taught that the sixthcommandment, for example, is broken only by the murderer, to pass sentence upon whom is theproper business of the recognized tribunals. But I say unto you that it is broken even by causeless1872JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonanger, which is but hatred in the bud, as hatred is incipient murder (1Jo 3:15); and if by the feelings,much more by those words in which all ill feeling, from the slightest to the most envenomed, arewont to be cast upon a brother: and just as there are gradations in human courts of judicature, andin the sentences which they pronounce according to the degrees of criminality, so will the judicialtreatment of all the breakers of this commandment at the divine tribunal be according to their realcriminality before the heart-searching Judge." Oh, what holy teaching is this!23. Therefore—to apply the foregoing, and show its paramount importance.if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught—ofjust complaint "against thee."24. Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thybrother—The meaning evidently is—not, "dismiss from thine own breast all ill feeling," but "getthy brother to dismiss from his mind all grudge against thee."and then come and offer thy gift—"The picture," says Tholuck, "is drawn from life. It transportsus to the moment when the Israelite, having brought his sacrifice to the court of the Israelites,awaited the instant when the priest would approach to receive it at his hands. He waits with his giftat the rails which separate the place where he stands from the court of the priests, into which hisoffering will presently be taken, there to be slain by the priest, and by him presented upon the altarof sacrifice." It is at this solemn moment, when about to cast himself upon divine mercy, and seekin his offering a seal of divine forgiveness, that the offerer is supposed, all at once, to rememberthat some brother has a just cause of complaint against him through breach of this commandmentin one or other of the ways just indicated. What then? Is he to say, As soon as I have offered thisgift I will go straight to my brother, and make it up with him? Nay; but before another step istaken—even before the offering is presented—this reconciliation is to be sought, though the gifthave to be left unoffered before the altar. The converse of the truth here taught is very strikinglyexpressed in Mr 11:25, 26: "And when ye stand praying (in the very act), forgive, if ye have aught(of just complaint) against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you yourtrespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you," &c.Hence the beautiful practice of the early Church, to see that all differences amongst brethren andsisters in Christ were made up, in the spirit of love, before going to the Holy Communion; and theChurch of England has a rubrical direction to this effect in her Communion service. Certainly, ifthis be the highest act of worship on earth, such reconciliation though obligatory on all otheroccasions of worship—must be peculiarly so then.25. Agree with thine adversary—thine opponent in a matter cognizable by law.quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him—"to the magistrate," as in Lu 12:58.lest at any time—here, rather, "lest at all," or simply "lest."the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge—having pronounced thee in the wrong.deliver thee to the officer—the official whose business it is to see the sentence carried intoeffect.26. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid theuttermost farthing—a fractional Roman coin, to which our "farthing" answers sufficiently well.That our Lord meant here merely to give a piece of prudential advice to his hearers, to keep out ofthe hands of the law and its officials by settling all disputes with one another privately, is not fora moment to be supposed, though there are critics of a school low enough to suggest this. Theconcluding words—"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out," &c.—manifestly1873JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonshow that though the language is drawn from human disputes and legal procedure, He is dealingwith a higher than any human quarrel, a higher than any human tribunal, a higher than any humanand temporal sentence. In this view of the words—in which nearly all critics worthy of the nameagree—the spirit of them may be thus expressed: "In expounding the sixth commandment, I havespoken of offenses between man and man; reminding you that the offender has another party todeal with besides him whom he has wronged on earth, and assuring you that all worship offered tothe Searcher of hearts by one who knows that a brother has just cause of complaint against him,and yet takes no steps to remove it, is vain: But I cannot pass from this subject without remindingyou of One whose cause of complaint against you is far more deadly than any that man can haveagainst man: and since with that Adversary you are already on the way to judgment, it will be yourwisdom to make up the quarrel without delay, lest sentence of condemnation be pronounced uponyou, and then will execution straightway follow, from the effects of which you shall never escapeas long as any remnant of the offense remains unexpiated." It will be observed that as the principleon which we are to "agree" with this "Adversary" is not here specified, and the precise nature ofthe retribution that is to light upon the despisers of this warning is not to be gathered from the mereuse of the word "prison"; so, the remedilessness of the punishment is not in so many words expressed,and still less is its actual cessation taught. The language on all these points is designedly general;but it may safely be said that the unending duration of future punishment—elsewhere so clearlyand awfully expressed by our Lord Himself, as in Mt 5:29, 30, and Mr 9:43, 48—is the only doctrinewith which His language here quite naturally and fully accords. (Compare Mt 18:30, 34).The Same Subject Illustrated from the Seventh Commandment (Mt 5:27-32).27. Ye have heard that it was said—The words "by," or "to them of old time," in this verseare insufficiently supported, and probably were not in the original text.Thou shall not commit adultery—Interpreting this seventh, as they did the sixth commandment,the traditional perverters of the law restricted the breach of it to acts of criminal intercourse between,or with, married persons exclusively. Our Lord now dissipates such delusions.28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her—with theintent to do so, as the same expression is used in Mt 6:1; or, with the full consent of his will, tofeed thereby his unholy desires.hath committed adultery with her already in his heart—We are not to suppose, from theword here used—"adultery"—that our Lord means to restrict the breach of this commandment tomarried persons, or to criminal intercourse with such. The expressions, "whosoever looketh," and"looketh upon a woman," seem clearly to extend the range of this commandment to all forms ofimpurity, and the counsels which follow—as they most certainly were intended for all, whethermarried or unmarried—seem to confirm this. As in dealing with the sixth commandment our Lordfirst expounds it, and then in the four following verses applies His exposition (Mt 5:21-25), so hereHe first expounds the seventh commandment, and then in the four following verses applies Hisexposition (Mt 5:28-32).29. And if thy right eye—the readier and the dearer of the two.offend thee—be a "trap spring," or as in the New Testament, be "an occasion of stumbling" tothee.pluck it out and cast it from thee—implying a certain indignant promptitude, heedless ofwhatever cost to feeling the act may involve. Of course, it is not the eye simply of which our Lordspeaks—as if execution were to be done upon the bodily organ—though there have been fanatical1874JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonascetics who have both advocated and practiced this, showing a very low apprehension of spiritualthings—but the offending eye, or the eye considered as the occasion of sin; and consequently, onlythe sinful exercise of the organ which is meant. For as one might put out his eyes without in theleast quenching the lust to which they ministered, so, "if thine eye be single, thy whole body shallbe full of light," and, when directed by a holy mind, becomes an "instrument of righteousness untoGod." At the same time, just as by cutting off a hand, or plucking out an eye, the power of actingand of seeing would be destroyed, our Lord certainly means that we are to strike at the root of suchunholy dispositions, as well as cut off the occasions which tend to stimulate them.for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy wholebody should be cast into hell—He who despises the warning to cast from him, with indignantpromptitude, an offending member, will find his whole body "cast," with a retributive promptitudeof indignation, "into hell." Sharp language, this, from the lips of Love incarnate!30. And if thy right hand—the organ of action, to which the eye excites.offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable, &c.—See on Mt 5:29. Therepetition, in identical terms, of such stern truths and awful lessons seems characteristic of ourLord's manner of teaching. Compare Mr 9:43-48.31. It hath been said—This shortened form was perhaps intentional, to mark a transition fromthe commandments of the Decalogue to a civil enactment on the subject of divorce, quoted fromDe 24:1. The law of divorce—according to its strictness or laxity—has so intimate a bearing uponpurity in the married life, that nothing could be more natural than to pass from the seventhcommandment to the loose views on that subject then current.Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement—a legalcheck upon reckless and tyrannical separation. The one legitimate ground of divorce allowed bythe enactment just quoted was "some uncleanness"—in other words, conjugal infidelity. But whileone school of interpreters (that of Shammai) explained this quite correctly, as prohibiting divorce inevery case save that of adultery, another school (that of Hillel) stretched the expression so far as toinclude everything in the wife offensive or disagreeable to the husband—a view of the law too wellfitted to minister to caprice and depraved inclination not to find extensive favor. And, indeed, tothis day the Jews allow divorces on the most frivolous pretexts. It was to meet this that our Lorduttered what follows:32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause offornication, causeth her to commit adultery—that is, drives her into it in case she marries again.and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced—for anything short of conjugal infidelity.committeth adultery—for if the commandment is broken by the one party, it must be by theother also. But see on Mt 19:4-9. Whether the innocent party, after a just divorce, may lawfullymarry again, is not treated of here. The Church of Rome says, No; but the Greek and ProtestantChurches allow it.Same Subject Illustrated from the Third Commandment (Mt 5:33-37).33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswearthyself—These are not the precise words of Ex 20:7; but they express all that it was currentlyunderstood to condemn, namely, false swearing (Le 19:12, &c.). This is plain from what follows.But I say unto you, Swear not at all—That this was meant to condemn swearing of everykind and on every occasion—as the Society of Friends and some other ultra-moralists allege—isnot for a moment to be thought. For even Jehovah is said once and again to have sworn by Himself;1875JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand our Lord certainly answered upon oath to a question put to Him by the high priest; and theapostle several times, and in the most solemn language, takes God to witness that he spoke andwrote the truth; and it is inconceivable that our Lord should here have quoted the precept about notforswearing ourselves, but performing to the Lord our oaths, only to give a precept of His owndirectly in the teeth of it. Evidently, it is swearing in common intercourse and on frivolous occasionsthat is here meant. Frivolous oaths were indeed severely condemned in the teaching of the times.But so narrow was the circle of them that a man might swear, says Lightfoot, a hundred thousandtimes and yet not be guilty of vain swearing. Hardly anything was regarded as an oath if only thename of God were not in it; just as among ourselves, as Trench well remarks, a certain lingeringreverence for the name of God leads to cutting off portions of His name, or uttering sounds nearlyresembling it, or substituting the name of some heathen deity, in profane exclamations orasseverations. Against all this our Lord now speaks decisively; teaching His audience that everyoath carries an appeal to God, whether named or not.neither by heaven; for it is God's throne—(quoting Isa 66:1);35. Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool—(quoting Isa 66:1);neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King—(quoting Ps 48:2).36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white orblack—In the other oaths specified, God's name was profaned quite as really as if His name hadbeen uttered, because it was instantly suggested by the mention of His "throne," His "footstool,"His "city." But in swearing by our own head and the like, the objection lies in their being "beyondour control," and therefore profanely assumed to have a stability which they have not.37. But let your communication—"your word," in ordinary intercourse, be,Yea, yea; Nay, nay—Let a simple Yes and No suffice in affirming the truth or the untruth ofanything. (See Jas 5:12; 2Co 1:17, 18).for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil—not "of the evil one"; though an equallycorrect rendering of the words, and one which some expositors prefer. It is true that all evil in ourworld is originally of the devil, that it forms a kingdom at the head of which he sits, and that, inevery manifestation of it he has an active part. But any reference to this here seems unnatural, andthe allusion to this passage in the Epistle of James (Jas 5:12) seems to show that this is not the senseof it: "Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." The untruthfulnessof our corrupt nature shows itself not only in the tendency to deviate from the strict truth, but inthe disposition to suspect others of doing the same; and as this is not diminished, but ratheraggravated, by the habit of confirming what we say by an oath, we thus run the risk of having allreverence for God's holy name, and even for strict truth, destroyed in our hearts, and so "fall intocondemnation." The practice of going beyond Yes and No in affirmations and denials—as if ourword for it were not enough, and we expected others to question it—springs from that vicious rootof untruthfulness which is only aggravated by the very effort to clear ourselves of the suspicion ofit. And just as swearing to the truth of what we say begets the disposition it is designed to remove,so the love and reign of truth in the breasts of Christ's disciples reveals itself so plainly even tothose who themselves cannot be trusted, that their simple Yes and No come soon to be more reliedon than the most solemn asseverations of others. Thus does the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, likea tree cast into the bitter waters of human corruption, heal and sweeten them.Same Subject—Retaliation (Mt 5:38-42). We have here the converse of the preceding lessons.They were negative: these are positive.1876JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson38. Ye have heard that it hath been said—(Ex 21:23-25; Le 24:19, 20; De 19:21).An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth—that is, whatever penalty was regarded as a properequivalent for these. This law of retribution—designed to take vengeance out of the hands of privatepersons, and commit it to the magistrate—was abused in the opposite way to the commandmentsof the Decalogue. While they were reduced to the level of civil enactments, this judicial regulationwas held to be a warrant for taking redress into their own hands, contrary to the injunctions of theOld Testament itself (Pr 20:22; 24:29).39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy rightcheck, turn to him the other also—Our Lord's own meek, yet dignified bearing, when smittenrudely on the cheek (Joh 18:22, 23), and not literally presenting the other, is the best comment onthese words. It is the preparedness, after one indignity, not to invite but to submit meekly to another,without retaliation, which this strong language is meant to convey.40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat—the inner garment; inpledge for a debt (Ex 22:26, 27).let him have thy cloak also—the outer and more costly garment. This overcoat was not allowedto be retained over night as a pledge from the poor because they used it for a bed covering.41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain—an allusion, probably,to the practice of the Romans and some Eastern nations, who, when government despatches hadto be forwarded, obliged the people not only to furnish horses and carriages, but to give personalattendance, often at great inconvenience, when required. But the thing here demanded is a readinessto submit to unreasonable demands of whatever kind, rather than raise quarrels, with all the evilsresulting from them. What follows is a beautiful extension of this precept.42. Give to him that asketh thee—The sense of unreasonable asking is here implied (compareLu 6:30).and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away—Though the word signifiesclassically "to have money lent to one on security," or "with interest," yet as this was not the originalsense of the word, and as usury was forbidden among the Jews (Ex 22:25, &c.), it is doubtlesssimple borrowing which our Lord here means, as indeed the whole strain of the exhortation implies.This shows that such counsels as "Owe no man anything" (Ro 13:8), are not to be taken absolutely;else the Scripture commendations of the righteous for "lending" to his necessitous brother (Ps 37:36;112:5; Lu 6:37) would have no application.turn not thou away—a graphic expression of unfeeling refusal to relieve a brother in extremity.Same Subject—Love to Enemies (Mt 5:43-48).43. Ye have heard that it hath been said—(Le 19:18).Thou shalt love thy neighbour—To this the corrupt teachers added,and hate thine enemy—as if the one were a legitimate inference from the other, instead ofbeing a detestable gloss, as Bengel indignantly calls it. Lightfoot quotes some of the cursed maximsinculcated by those traditionists regarding the proper treatment of all Gentiles. No wonder that theRomans charged the Jews with hatred of the human race.44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies—The word here used denotes moral love, asdistinguished from the other word, which expresses personal affection. Usually, the former denotes"complacency in the character" of the person loved; but here it denotes the benignant, compassionateoutgoings of desire for another's good.1877JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them whichdespitefully use you, and persecute you—The best commentary on these matchless counsels isthe bright example of Him who gave them. (See 1Pe 2:21-24; and compare Ro 12:20, 21; 1Co 4:12;1Pe 3:9). But though such precepts were never before expressed—perhaps not even conceived—withsuch breadth, precision, and sharpness as here, our Lord is here only the incomparable Interpreterof the law in force from the beginning; and this is the only satisfactory view of the entire strain ofthis discourse.45. That ye may be the children—sons.of your Father which is in heaven—The meaning is, "that ye may show yourselves to be suchby resembling Him" (compare Mt 5:9; Eph 5:1).for he maketh his sun—"your Father's sun." Well might Bengel exclaim, "Magnificentappellation!"to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust—rather,(without the article) "on evil and good, and on just and unjust." When we find God's own procedureheld up for imitation in the law, and much more in the prophets (Le 19:2; 20:26; and compare 1Pe1:15, 16), we may see that the principle of this surprising verse was nothing new: but the form ofit certainly is that of One who spake as never man spake.46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicansthe same?—The publicans, as collectors of taxes due to the Roman government, were ever on thisaccount obnoxious to the Jews, who sat uneasy under a foreign yoke, and disliked whatever broughtthis unpleasantly before them. But the extortion practiced by this class made them hateful to thecommunity, who in their current speech ranked them with "harlots." Nor does our Lord scruple tospeak of them as others did, which we may be sure He never would have done if it had beencalumnious. The meaning, then, is, "In loving those who love you, there is no evidence of superiorprinciple; the worst of men will do this: even a publican will go that length."47. And if ye salute your brethren only—of the same nation and religion with yourselves.what do ye more than others?—what do ye uncommon or extraordinary? that is, wherein doye excel?do not even the publicans so?—The true reading here appears to be, "Do not even the heathensthe same?" Compare Mt 18:17, where the excommunicated person is said to be "as an heathen manand a publican."48. Be ye therefore—rather, "Ye shall therefore be," or "Ye are therefore to be," as My disciplesand in My kingdom.perfect—or complete. Manifestly, our Lord here speaks, not of degrees of excellence, but ofthe kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His kingdom. Whentherefore He adds,even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect—He refers to that full-orbed gloriouscompleteness which is in the great Divine Model, "their Father which is in heaven."CHAPTER 6Sermon on the Mount—continued.Mt 6:1-18. Further Illustration of the Righteousness of the Kingdom—Its Unostentatiousness.1878JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonGeneral Caution against Ostentation in Religious Duties (Mt 6:1).1. Take heed that ye do not your alms—But the true reading seems clearly to be "yourrighteousness." The external authority for both readings is pretty nearly equal; but internal evidenceis decidedly in favor of "righteousness." The subject of the second verse being "almsgiving" thatword—so like the other in Greek—might easily be substituted for it by the copyist: whereas theopposite would not be so likely. But it is still more in favor of "righteousness," that if we so readthe first verse, it then becomes a general heading for this whole section of the discourse, inculcatingunostentatiousness in all deeds of righteousness—Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting being, in thatcase, but selected examples of this righteousness; whereas, if we read, "Do not your alms," &c.,this first verse will have no reference but to that one point. By "righteousness," in this case, we areto understand that same righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, whose leading features—inopposition to traditional perversions of it—it is the great object of this discourse to open up: thatrighteousness of which the Lord says, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousnessof the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:20). To"do" this righteousness, was an old and well-understood expression. Thus, "Blessed is he that doethrighteousness at all times" (Ps 106:3). It refers to the actings of righteousness in the life—theoutgoings of the gracious nature—of which our Lord afterwards said to His disciples, "Herein isMy Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples" (Joh 15:8).before men, to be seen of them—with the view or intention of being beheld of them. See thesame expression in Mt 5:28. True, He had required them to let their light so shine before men thatthey might see their good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven (Mt 5:16). But this isquite consistent with not making a display of our righteousness for self-glorification. In fact, thedoing of the former necessarily implies our not doing the latter.otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven—When all duty is done toGod—as primarily enjoining and finally judging of it—He will take care that it be duly recognized;but when done purely for ostentation, God cannot own it, nor is His judgment of it even thoughtof—God accepts only what is done to Himself. So much for the general principle. Now followthree illustrations of it.Almsgiving (Mt 6:2-4).2. Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee—Theexpression is to be taken figuratively for blazoning it. Hence our expression to "trumpet."as the hypocrites do—This word—of such frequent occurrence in Scripture, signifying primarily"one who acts a part"—denotes one who either pretends to be what he is not (as here), or dissembleswhat he really is (as in Lu 12:1, 2).in the synagogues and in the streets—the places of religious and secular resort.that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you—In such august expressions, it isthe Lawgiver and Judge Himself that we hear speaking to us.They have their reward—All they wanted was human applause, and they have it—and withit, all they will ever get.3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth—Sofar from making a display of it, dwell not on it even in thine own thoughts, lest it minister to spiritualpride.1879JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson4. That thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shallreward thee openly—The word "Himself" appears to be an unauthorized addition to the text,which the sense no doubt suggested. (See 1Ti 5:25; Ro 2:16; 1Co 4:5).Prayer (Mt 6:5, 6).5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt—or, preferably, "when ye pray ye shall."not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in thecorners of the streets—(See on Mt 6:2).that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have, &c.—The standing posturein prayer was the ancient practice, alike in the Jewish and in the early Christian Church. But ofcourse this conspicuous posture opened the way for the ostentatious.6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet—a place of retirement.and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Fatherwhich seeth in secret shall reward thee openly—Of course, it is not the simple publicity of prayerwhich is here condemned. It may be offered in any circumstances, however open, if not promptedby the spirit of ostentation, but dictated by the great ends of prayer itself. It is the retiring characterof true prayer which is here taught.Supplementary Directions and Model Prayer (Mt 6:7-15).7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions—"Babble not" would be a better rendering,both for the form of the word—which in both languages is intended to imitate the sound—and forthe sense, which expresses not so much the repetition of the same words as a senseless multiplicationof them; as appears from what follows.as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking—Thismethod of heathen devotion is still observed by Hindu and Mohammedan devotees. With the Jews,says Lightfoot, it was a maxim, that "Every one who multiplies prayer is heard." In the Church ofRome, not only is it carried to a shameless extent, but, as Tholuck justly observes, the very prayerwhich our Lord gave as an antidote to vain repetitions is the most abused to this superstitious end;the number of times it is repeated counting for so much more merit. Is not this just that characteristicfeature of heathen devotion which our Lord here condemns? But praying much, and using at timesthe same words, is not here condemned, and has the example of our Lord Himself in its favor.8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have needof before ye ask him—and so needs not to be informed of our wants, any more than to be rousedto attend to them by our incessant speaking. What a view of God is here given, in sharp contrastwith the gods of the heathen! But let it be carefully noted that it is not as the general Father ofmankind that our Lord says, "Your Father" knoweth what ye need before ye ask it; for it is not men,as such, that He is addressing in this discourse, but His own disciples—the poor in spirit, themourners, the meek, hungry and thirsty souls, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, whoallow themselves to have all manner of evil said against them for the Son of man's sake—in short,the new-born children of God, who, making their Father's interests their own, are here assured thattheir Father, in return, makes their interests His, and needs neither to be told nor to be reminded oftheir wants. Yet He will have His children pray to Him, and links all His promised supplies to theirpetitions for them; thus encouraging us to draw near and keep near to Him, to talk and walk withHim, to open our every case to Him, and assure ourselves that thus asking we shall receive—thusseeking we shall find—thus knocking it shall be opened to us.9. After this manner—more simply "Thus."1880JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesontherefore pray ye—The "ye" is emphatic here, in contrast with the heathen prayers. That thismatchless prayer was given not only as a model, but as a form, might be concluded from its verynature. Did it consist only of hints or directions for prayer, it could only be used as a directory; butseeing it is an actual prayer—designed, indeed, to show how much real prayer could be compressedinto the fewest words, but still, as a prayer, only the more incomparable for that—it is strange thatthere should be a doubt whether we ought to pray that very prayer. Surely the words with which itis introduced, in the second utterance and varied form of it which we have in Lu 11:2, ought to setthis at rest: "When ye pray, say, Our Father." Nevertheless, since the second form of it variesconsiderably from the first, and since no example of its actual use, or express quotation of itsphraseology, occurs in the sequel of the New Testament, we are to guard against a superstitioususe of it. How early this began to appear in the church services, and to what extent it was afterwardscarried, is known to every one versed in Church History. Nor has the spirit which bred this abusequite departed from some branches of the Protestant Church, though the opposite and equallycondemnable extreme is to be found in other branches of it.Model Prayer (Mt 6:9-13). According to the Latin fathers and the Lutheran Church, the petitionsof the Lord's Prayer are seven in number; according to the Greek fathers, the Reformed Church andthe Westminster divines, they are only six; the two last being regarded—we think, less correctly—asone. The first three petitions have to do exclusively with God: "Thy name be hallowed"—"Thykingdom come"—"Thy will be done." And they occur in a descending scale—from Himself downto the manifestation of Himself in His kingdom; and from His kingdom to the entire subjection ofits subjects, or the complete doing of His will. The remaining four petitions have to do withOURSELVES: "Give us our daily bread"—"Forgive us our debts"—"Lead us not intotemptation"—"Deliver us from evil." But these latter petitions occur in an ascending scale—fromthe bodily wants of every day up to our final deliverance from all evil.Invocation:Our Father which art in heaven—In the former clause we express His nearness to us; in thelatter, His distance from us. (See Ec 5:2; Isa 66:1). Holy, loving familiarity suggests the one; awfulreverence the other. In calling Him "Father" we express a relationship we have all known and feltsurrounding us even from our infancy; but in calling Him our Father "who art in heaven," wecontrast Him with the fathers we all have here below, and so raise our souls to that "heaven" whereHe dwells, and that Majesty and Glory which are there as in their proper home. These first wordsof the Lord's Prayer—this invocation with which it opens—what a brightness and warmth does itthrow over the whole prayer, and into what a serene region does it introduce the praying believer,the child of God, as he thus approaches Him! It is true that the paternal relationship of God to Hispeople is by no means strange to the Old Testament. (See De 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 63:16; Jer 3:4,19; Mal 1:6; 2:10). But these are only glimpses—the "back parts" (Ex 33:23), if we may so say, incomparison with the "open face" of our Father revealed in Jesus. (See on 2Co 3:18). Nor is it toomuch to say, that the view which our Lord gives, throughout this His very first lengthened discourse,of "our Father in heaven," beggars all that was ever taught, even in God's own Word, or conceivedbefore by His saints, on this subject.First Petition:Hallowed be—that is, "Be held in reverence"; regarded and treated as holy.thy name—God's name means "Himself as revealed and manifested." Everywhere in ScriptureGod defines and marks off the faith and love and reverence and obedience He will have from men1881JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonby the disclosures which He makes to them of what He is; both to shut out false conceptions ofHim, and to make all their devotion take the shape and hue of His own teaching. Too much attentioncannot be paid to this.Second Petition:10. Thy kingdom come—The kingdom of God is that moral and spiritual kingdom which theGod of grace is setting up in this fallen world, whose subjects consist of as many as have beenbrought into hearty subjection to His gracious scepter, and of which His Son Jesus is the gloriousHead. In the inward reality of it, this kingdom existed ever since there were men who "walked withGod" (Ge 5:24), and "waited for His salvation" (Ge 49:18); who were "continually with Him, holdenby His right hand" (Ps 73:23), and who, even in the valley of the shadow of death, feared no evilwhen He was with them (Ps 23:4). When Messiah Himself appeared, it was, as a visible kingdom,"at hand." His death laid the deep foundations of it. His ascension on high, "leading captivity captiveand receiving gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them,"and the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, by which those gifts for men descended upon the rebellious,and the Lord God was beheld, in the persons of thousands upon thousands, "dwelling" amongmen—was a glorious "coming" of this kingdom. But it is still to come, and this petition, "Thykingdom come," must not cease to ascend so long as one subject of it remains to be brought in. Butdoes not this prayer stretch further forward—to "the glory to be revealed," or that stage of thekingdom called "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Pe 1:11)? Notdirectly, perhaps, since the petition that follows this—"Thy will be done in earth, as it is inheaven"—would then bring us back to this present state of imperfection. Still, the mind refuses tobe so bounded by stages and degrees, and in the act of praying, "Thy kingdom come," it irresistiblystretches the wings of its faith, and longing, and joyous expectation out to the final and gloriousconsummation of the kingdom of God.Third Petition:Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven—or, as the same words are rendered in Luke,"as in heaven, so upon earth" (Lu 11:2)—as cheerfully, as constantly, as perfectly. But some willask, Will this ever be? We answer, If the "new heavens and new earth" are to be just our presentmaterial system purified by fire and transfigured, of course it will. But we incline to think that theaspiration which we are taught in this beautiful petition to breathe forth has no direct reference toany such organic fulfilment, and is only the spontaneous and resistless longing of the renewedsoul—put into words—to see the whole inhabited earth in entire conformity to the will of God. Itasks not if ever it shall be—or if ever it can be—in order to pray this prayer. It must have its holyyearnings breathed forth, and this is just the bold yet simple expression of them. Nor is the OldTestament without prayers which come very near to this (Ps 7:9; 67:1-7; 72:19, &c.).Fourth Petition:11. Give us this day our daily bread—The compound word here rendered "daily" occursnowhere else, either in classical or sacred Greek, and so must be interpreted by the analogy of itscomponent parts. But on this critics are divided. To those who would understand it to mean, "Giveus this day the bread of to-morrow"—as if the sense thus slid into that of Luke "Give us day byday" (Lu 11:2, (as Bengel, Meyer, &c.) it may be answered that the sense thus brought out is scarcelyintelligible, if not something less; that the expression "bread of to-morrow" is not at all the sameas bread "from day to day," and that, so understood, it would seem to contradict Mt 6:34. The greatmajority of the best critics (taking the word to be compounded of ousia, "substance," or "being")1882JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonunderstand by it the "staff of life," the bread of subsistence, and so the sense will be, "Give us thisday the bread which this day's necessities require." In this case, the rendering of our authorizedversion (after the Vulgate, Luther and some of the best modern critics)—"our daily bread"—is, insense, accurate enough. (See Pr 30:8). Among commentators, there was early shown an inclinationto understand this as a prayer for the heavenly bread, or spiritual nourishment; and in this they havebeen followed by many superior expositors, even down to our own times. But as this is quiteunnatural, so it deprives the Christian of one of the sweetest of his privileges—to cast his bodilywants in this short prayer, by one simple petition, upon his heavenly Father. No doubt the spiritualmind will, from "the meat that perisheth," naturally rise in thought to "that meat which endureth toeverlasting life." But let it be enough that the petition about bodily wants irresistibly suggests ahigher petition; and let us not rob ourselves—out of a morbid spirituality—of our one petition inthis prayer for that bodily provision which the immediate sequel of this discourse shows that ourheavenly Father has so much at heart. In limiting our petitions, however, to provision for the day,what a spirit of childlike dependence does the Lord both demand and beget!Fifth Petition:12. And forgive us our debts—A vitally important view of sin, this—as an offense againstGod demanding reparation to His dishonored claims upon our absolute subjection. As the debtorin the creditor's hand, so is the sinner in the hands of God. This idea of sin had indeed come upbefore in this discourse—in the warning to agree with our adversary quickly, in case of sentencebeing passed upon us, adjudging us to payment of the last farthing, and to imprisonment till then(Mt 5:25, 26). And it comes up once and again in our Lord's subsequent teaching—as in the parableof the creditor and his two debtors (Lu 7:41, 42, &c.), and in the parable of the unmerciful debtor(Mt 18:23, &c.). But by embodying it in this brief model of acceptable prayer, and as the first ofthree petitions more or less bearing upon sin, our Lord teaches us, in the most emphatic mannerconceivable, to regard this view of sin as the primary and fundamental one. Answering to this isthe "forgiveness" which it directs us to seek—not the removal from our own hearts of the stain ofsin, nor yet the removal of our just dread of God's anger, or of unworthy suspicions of His love,which is all that some tell us we have to care about—but the removal from God's own mind of Hisdispleasure against us on account of sin, or, to retain the figure, the wiping or crossing out fromHis "book of remembrance" of all entries against us on this account.as we forgive our debtors—the same view of sin as before; only now transferred to the regionof offenses given and received between man and man. After what has been said on Mt 5:7, it willnot be thought that our Lord here teaches that our exercise of forgiveness towards our offendingfellow men absolutely precedes and is the proper ground of God's forgiveness of us. His wholeteaching, indeed—as of all Scripture—is the reverse of this. But as no one can reasonably imaginehimself to be the object of divine forgiveness who is deliberately and habitually unforgiving towardshis fellow men, so it is a beautiful provision to make our right to ask and expect daily forgivenessof our daily shortcomings and our final absolution and acquittal at the great day of admission intothe kingdom, dependent upon our consciousness of a forgiving disposition towards our fellows,and our preparedness to protest before the Searcher of hearts that we do actually forgive them. (SeeMr 11:25, 26). God sees His own image reflected in His forgiving children; but to ask God for whatwe ourselves refuse to men, is to insult Him. So much stress does our Lord put upon this, thatimmediately after the close of this prayer, it is the one point in it which He comes back upon (Mt1883JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6:14, 15), for the purpose of solemnly assuring us that the divine procedure in this matter offorgiveness will be exactly what our own is.Sixth Petition:13. And lead us not into temptation—He who honestly seeks and has the assurance of,forgiveness for past sin, will strive to avoid committing it for the future. But conscious that "whenwe would do good evil is present with us," we are taught to offer this sixth petition, which comesnaturally close upon the preceding, and flows, indeed, instinctively from it in the hearts of all earnestChristians. There is some difficulty in the form of the petition, as it is certain that God does bringHis people—as He did Abraham, and Christ Himself—into circumstances both fitted and designedto try them, or test the strength of their faith. Some meet this by regarding the petition as simplyan humble expression of self-distrust and instinctive shrinking from danger; but this seems tooweak. Others take it as a prayer against yielding to temptation, and so equivalent to a prayer forsupport and deliverance when we are tempted; but this seems to go beyond the precise thing intended.We incline to take it as a prayer against being drawn or sucked, of our own will, into temptation,to which the word here used seems to lend some countenance—"Introduce us not." This view,while it does not put into our mouths a prayer against being tempted—which is more than the divineprocedure would seem to warrant—does not, on the other hand, change the sense of the petitioninto one for support under temptation, which the words will hardly bear; but it gives us a subjectfor prayer, in regard to temptation, most definite, and of all others most needful. It was preciselythis which Peter needed to ask, but did not ask, when—of his own accord, and in spite ofdifficulties—he pressed for entrance into the palace hall of the high priest, and where, once suckedinto the scene and atmosphere of temptation, he fell so foully. And if so, does it not seem prettyclear that this was exactly what our Lord meant His disciples to pray against when He said in thegarden—"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation"? (Mt 26:41).Seventh Petition:But deliver us from evil—We can see no good reason for regarding this as but the second halfof the sixth petition. With far better ground might the second and third petitions be regarded asone. The "but" connecting the two petitions is an insufficient reason for regarding them as one,though enough to show that the one thought naturally follows close upon the other. As the expression"from evil" may be equally well rendered "from the evil one," a number or superior critics thinkthe devil is intended, especially from its following close upon the subject of "temptation." But thecomprehensive character of these brief petitions, and the place which this one occupies, as that onwhich all our desires die away, seems to us against so contracted a view of it. Nor can there be areasonable doubt that the apostle, in some of the last sentences which he penned before he wasbrought forth to suffer for his Lord, alludes to this very petition in the language of calmassurance—"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work (compare the Greek of the twopassages), and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom" (2Ti 4:18). The final petition, then,is only rightly grasped when regarded as a prayer for deliverance from all evil of whatever kind—notonly from sin, but from all its consequences—fully and finally. Fitly, then, are our prayers endedwith this. For what can we desire which this does not carry with it?For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen—If any relianceis to be placed on external evidence, this doxology, we think, can hardly be considered part of theoriginal text. It is wanting in all the most ancient manuscripts; it is wanting in the Old Latin versionand in the Vulgate: the former mounting up to about the middle of the second century, and the latter1884JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbeing a revision of it in the fourth century by Jerome, a most reverential and conservative as well asable and impartial critic. As might be expected from this, it is passed by in silence by the earliestLatin fathers; but even the Greek commentators, when expounding this prayer, pass by the doxology.On the other hand, it is found in a majority of manuscripts, though not the oldest; it is found in allthe Syriac versions, even the Peschito—dating probably as early as the second century—althoughthis version lacks the "Amen," which the doxology, if genuine, could hardly have wanted; it isfound in the Sahidic or Thebaic version made for the Christians of Upper Egypt, possibly as earlyas the Old Latin; and it is found in perhaps most of the later versions. On a review of the evidence,the strong probability, we think, is that it was no part of the original text.14. For if ye forgive men, &c.—See on Mt 6:12.15. But if ye forgive not, &c.—See on Mt 6:12.Fasting (Mt 6:16-18). Having concluded His supplementary directions on the subject of prayerwith this Divine Pattern, our Lord now returns to the subject of Unostentatiousness in our deedsof righteousness, in order to give one more illustration of it, in the matter of fasting.16. Moreover, when ye fast—referring, probably, to private and voluntary fasting, which wasto be regulated by each individual for himself; though in spirit it would apply to any fast.be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces—literally,"make unseen"; very well rendered "disfigure." They went about with a slovenly appearance, andashes sprinkled on their head.that they may appear unto men to fast—It was not the deed, but reputation for the deedwhich they sought; and with this view those hypocrites multiplied their fasts. And are the exhaustingfasts of the Church of Rome, and of Romanizing Protestants, free from this taint?Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face—as the Jews did,except when mourning (Da 10:3); so that the meaning is, "Appear as usual"—appear so as to attractno notice.18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thyFather, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly—The "openly" seems evidently a lateraddition to the text of this verse from Mt 6:4, 7, though of course the idea is implied.Mt 6:19-34. Concluding Illustrations of the Righteousness of the Kingdom—Heavenly-Mindedness and FilialConfidence.19. Lay not up for ourselves treasures upon earth—hoard not.where moth—a "clothes-moth." Eastern treasures, consisting partly in costly dresses storedup (Job 27:16), were liable to be consumed by moths (Job 13:28; Isa 50:9; 51:8). In Jas 5:2 thereis an evident reference to our Lord's words here.and rust—any "eating into" or "consuming"; here, probably, "wear and tear."doth corrupt—cause to disappear. By this reference to moth and rust our Lord would teachhow perishable are such earthly treasures.and where thieves break through and steal—Treasures these, how precarious!20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven—The language in Luke (Lu 12:33) is verybold—"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure inthe heavens that faileth not," &c.where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through norsteal—Treasures these, imperishable and unassailable! (Compare Col 3:2).1885JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson21. For where your treasure is—that which ye value most.there will your heart be also—"Thy treasure—thy heart" is probably the true reading here:"your," in Lu 12:34, from which it seems to have come in here. Obvious though this maxim be, bywhat multitudes who profess to bow to the teaching of Christ is it practically disregarded! "Whata man loves," says Luther, quoted by Tholuck, "that is his God. For he carries it in his heart, he goesabout with it night and day, he sleeps and wakes with it; be it what it may—wealth or pelf, pleasureor renown." But because "laying up" is not in itself sinful, nay, in some cases enjoined (2Co 12:14),and honest industry and sagacious enterprise are usually rewarded with prosperity, many flatterthemselves that all is right between them and God, while their closest attention, anxiety, zeal, andtime are exhausted upon these earthly pursuits. To put this right, our Lord adds what follows, inwhich there is profound practical wisdom.22. The light—rather, "the lamp."of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single—simple, clear. As applied to theoutward eye, this means general soundness; particularly, not looking two ways. Here, as also inclassical Greek, it is used figuratively to denote the simplicity of the mind's eye, singleness ofpurpose, looking right at its object, as opposed to having two ends in view. (See Pr 4:25-27).thy whole body shall be full of light—illuminated. As with the bodily vision, the man wholooks with a good, sound eye, walks in light, seeing every object clear; so a simple and persistentpurpose to serve and please God in everything will make the whole character consistent and bright.23. But if thine eye be evil—distempered, or, as we should say, If we have got a bad eye.thy whole body shall be full of darkness—darkened. As a vitiated eye, or an eye that looksnot straight and full at its object, sees nothing as it is, so a mind and heart divided between heavenand earth is all dark.If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!—As theconscience is the regulative faculty, and a man's inward purpose, scope, aim in life, determines hischaracter—if these be not simple and heavenward, but distorted and double, what must all the otherfaculties and principles of our nature be which take their direction and character from these, andwhat must the whole man and the whole life be but a mass of darkness? In Luke (Lu 11:36) theconverse of this statement very strikingly expresses what pure, beautiful, broad perceptions theclarity of the inward eye imparts: "If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark,the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light." Butnow for the application of this.24. No man can serve—The word means to "belong wholly and be entirely under commandto."two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to theone, and despise the other—Even if the two masters be of one character and have but one object,the servant must take law from one or the other: though he may do what is agreeable to both, hecannot, in the nature of the thing, be servant to more than one. Much less if, as in the present case,their interests are quite different, and even conflicting. In this case, if our affections be in the serviceof the one—if we "love the one"—we must of necessity "hate the other"; if we determine resolutelyto "hold to the one," we must at the same time disregard, and (if he insist on his claims upon us)even "despise the other."Ye cannot serve God and mammon—The word "mamon"—better written with one m—is aforeign one, whose precise derivation cannot certainly be determined, though the most probable1886JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonone gives it the sense of "what one trusts in." Here, there can be no doubt it is used for riches,considered as an idol master, or god of the heart. The service of this god and the true God togetheris here, with a kind of indignant curtness, pronounced impossible. But since the teaching of thepreceding verses might seem to endanger our falling short of what is requisite for the present life,and so being left destitute, our Lord now comes to speak to that point.25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought—"Be not solicitous." The English word"thought," when our version was made, expressed this idea of "solicitude," "anxious concern"—asmay be seen in any old English classic; and in the same sense it is used in 1Sa 9:5, &c. But thissense of the word has now nearly gone out, and so the mere English reader is apt to be perplexed.Thought or forethought, for temporal things—in the sense of reflection, consideration—is requiredalike by Scripture and common sense. It is that anxious solicitude, that oppressive care, whichsprings from unbelieving doubts and misgivings, which alone is here condemned. (See Php 4:6).for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shallput on—In Luke (Lu 12:29) our Lord adds, "neither be ye unsettled"—not "of doubtful mind," asin our version. When "careful (or 'full of care') about nothing," but committing all in prayer andsupplication with thanksgiving unto God, the apostle assures us that "the peace of God, whichpasseth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Php 4:6, 7); that is,shall guard both our feelings and our thoughts from undue agitation, and keep them in a holy calm.But when we commit our whole temporal condition to the wit of our own minds, we get into that"unsettled" state against which our Lord exhorts His disciples.Is not the life more than meat—food.and the body than raiment?—If God, then, gives and keeps up the greater—the life, thebody—will He withhold the less, food to sustain life and raiment to clothe the body?26. Behold the fowls of the air—in Mt 6:28, "observe well," and in Lu 12:24, "consider"—soas to learn wisdom from them.for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Fatherfeedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?—nobler in yourselves and dearer to God. Theargument here is from the greater to the less; but how rich in detail! The brute creation—void ofreason—are incapable of sowing, reaping, and storing: yet your heavenly Father suffers them nothelplessly to perish, but sustains them without any of those processes. Will He see, then, His ownchildren using all the means which reason dictates for procuring the things needful for thebody—looking up to Himself at every step—and yet leave them to starve?27. Which of you, by taking thought—anxious solicitude.can add one cubit unto his stature?—"Stature" can hardly be the thing intended here: first,because the subject is the prolongation of life, by the supply of its necessaries of food and clothing:and next, because no one would dream of adding a cubit—or a foot and a half—to his stature, whilein the corresponding passage in Luke (Lu 12:25, 26) the thing intended is represented as "that thingwhich is least." But if we take the word in its primary sense of "age" (for "stature" is but a secondarysense) the idea will be this, "Which of you, however anxiously you vex yourselves about it, canadd so much as a step to the length of your life's journey?" To compare the length of life to measuresof this nature is not foreign to the language of Scripture (compare Ps 39:5; 2Ti 4:7, &c.). Sounderstood, the meaning is clear and the connection natural. In this the best critics now agree.28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider—observe well.the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not—as men, planting and preparing the flax.1887JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonneither do they spin—as women.29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like oneof these—What incomparable teaching!—best left in its own transparent clearness and richsimplicity.30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass—the "herbage."of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven—wild flowers cut with thegrass, withering by the heat, and used for fuel. (See Jas 1:11).shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?—The argument here is somethingfresh. Gorgeous as is the array of the flowers that deck the fields, surpassing all artificial humangrandeur, it is for but a brief moment; you are ravished with it to-day, and to-morrow it is gone;your own hands have seized and cast it into the oven: Shall, then, God's children, so dear to Him,and instinct with a life that cannot die, be left naked? He does not say, Shall they not be morebeauteously arrayed? but, Shall He not much more clothe them? that being all He will have themregard as secured to them (compare Heb 13:5). The expression, "Little-faithed ones," which ourLord applies once and again to His disciples (Mt 8:26; 14:31; 16:8), can hardly be regarded asrebuking any actual manifestations of unbelief at that early period, and before such an audience. Itis His way of gently chiding the spirit of unbelief, so natural even to the best, who are surroundedby a world of sense, and of kindling a generous desire to shake it off.31. Therefore take no thought—solicitude.saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)—rather, "pursue." Knowing nothingdefinitely beyond the present life to kindle their aspirations and engage their supreme attention,the heathen naturally pursue present objects as their chief, their only good. To what an elevationabove these does Jesus here lift His disciples!for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things—How precious thisword! Food and raiment are pronounced needful to God's children; and He who could say, "Noman knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Mt 11:27),says with an authority which none but Himself could claim, "Your heavenly Father knoweth thatye have need of all these things." Will not that suffice you, O ye needy ones of the household offaith?33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shallbe added unto you—This is the great summing up. Strictly speaking, it has to do only with thesubject of the present section—the right state of the heart with reference to heavenly and earthlythings; but being couched in the form of a brief general directory, it is so comprehensive in its graspas to embrace the whole subject of this discourse. And, as if to make this the more evident, the twokeynotes of this great sermon seem purposely struck in it—"the KINGDOM" and "the RIGHTEOUSNESS"of the kingdom—as the grand objects, in the supreme pursuit of which all things needful for thepresent life will be added to us. The precise sense of every word in this golden verse should becarefully weighed. "The kingdom of God" is the primary subject of the Sermon on the Mount—thatkingdom which the God of heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spirituallyrecovered and inwardly subject portion of the family of Adam, under Messiah as its Divine Headand King. "The righteousness thereof" is the character of all such, so amply described and variouslyillustrated in the foregoing portions of this discourse. The "seeking" of these is the making themthe object of supreme choice and pursuit; and the seeking of them "first" is the seeking of them1888JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbefore and above all else. The "all these things" which shall in that case be added to us are just the"all these things" which the last words of Mt 6:32 assured us "our heavenly Father knoweth thatwe have need of"; that is, all we require for the present life. And when our Lord says they shall be"added," it is implied, as a matter of course, that the seekers of the kingdom and its righteousnessshall have these as their proper and primary portion: the rest being their gracious reward for notseeking them. (See an illustration of the principle of this in 2Ch 1:11, 12). What follows is but areduction of this great general direction into a practical and ready form for daily use.34. Take therefore no thought—anxious care.for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself—(or, accordingto other authorities, "for itself")—shall have its own causes of anxiety.Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof—An admirable practical maxim, and better renderedin our version than in almost any other, not excepting the preceding English ones. Every day bringsits own cares; and to anticipate is only to double them.CHAPTER 7Sermon on the Mount—concluded.Mt 7:1-12. Miscellaneous Supplementary Counsels.That these verses are entirely supplementary is the simplest and most natural view of them. Allattempts to make out any evident connection with the immediately preceding context are, in ourjudgment, forced. But, though supplementary, these counsels are far from being of subordinateimportance. On the contrary, they involve some of the most delicate and vital duties of the Christianlife. In the vivid form in which they are here presented, perhaps they could not have been introducedwith the same effect under any of the foregoing heads; but they spring out of the same greatprinciples, and are but other forms and manifestations of the same evangelical "righteousness."Censorious Judgment (Mt 7:1-5).1. Judge not, that ye be not judged—To "judge" here does not exactly mean to pronouncecondemnatory judgment, nor does it refer to simple judging at all, whether favorable or the reverse.The context makes it clear that the thing here condemned is that disposition to look unfavorablyon the character and actions of others, which leads invariably to the pronouncing of rash, unjust,and unlovely judgments upon them. No doubt it is the judgments so pronounced which are herespoken of; but what our Lord aims at is the spirit out of which they spring. Provided we eschewthis unlovely spirit, we are not only warranted to sit in judgment upon a brother's character andactions, but in the exercise of a necessary discrimination are often constrained to do so for our ownguidance. It is the violation of the law of love involved in the exercise of a censorious dispositionwhich alone is here condemned. And the argument against it—"that ye be not judged"—confirmsthis: "that your own character and actions be not pronounced upon with the like severity"; that is,at the great day.2. For with what judgments ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure yemete—whatever standard of judgment ye apply to others.it shall be measured to you again—This proverbial maxim is used by our Lord in otherconnections—as in Mr 4:24, and with a slightly different application in Lu 6:38—as a great principlein the divine administration. Unkind judgment of others will be judicially returned upon ourselves,1889JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonin the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. But, as in many other casesunder the divine administration, such harsh judgment gets self-punished even here. For peopleshrink from contact with those who systematically deal out harsh judgment upon others—naturallyconcluding that they themselves may be the next victims—and feel impelled in self-defense, whenexposed to it, to roll back upon the assailant his own censures.3. And why beholdest thou the mote—"splinter," here very well rendered "mote," denotingany small fault.that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?—denotingthe much greater fault which we overlook in ourselves.4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold,a beam is in thine own eye?5. Thou hypocrite—"Hypocrite."first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out themote out of thy brother's eye—Our Lord uses a most hyperbolical, but not unfamiliar figure, toexpress the monstrous inconsistency of this conduct. The "hypocrisy" which, not without indignation,He charges it with, consists in the pretense of a zealous and compassionate charity, which cannotpossibly be real in one who suffers worse faults to lie uncorrected in himself. He only is fit to bea reprover of others who jealously and severely judges himself. Such persons will not only be slowto undertake the office of censor on their neighbors, but, when constrained in faithfulness to dealwith them, will make it evident that they do it with reluctance and not satisfaction, with moderationand not exaggeration, with love and not harshness.Prostitution of Holy Things (Mt 7:6). The opposite extreme to that of censoriousness is herecondemned—want of discrimination of character.6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs—savage or snarling haters of truth andrighteousness.neither cast ye your pearls before swine—the impure or coarse, who are incapable ofappreciating the priceless jewels of Christianity. In the East, dogs are wilder and more gregarious,and, feeding on carrion and garbage, are coarser and fiercer than the same animals in the West.Dogs and swine, besides being ceremonially unclean, were peculiarly repulsive to the Jews, andindeed to the ancients generally.lest they trample them under their feet—as swine do.and turn again and rend you—as dogs do. Religion is brought into contempt, and its professorsinsulted, when it is forced upon those who cannot value it and will not have it. But while theindiscriminately zealous have need of this caution, let us be on our guard against too readily settingour neighbors down as dogs and swine, and excusing ourselves from endeavoring to do them goodon this poor plea.Prayer (Mt 7:7-11). Enough, one might think, had been said on this subject in Mt 6:5-15. Butthe difficulty of the foregoing duties seems to have recalled the subject, and this gives it quite anew turn. "How shall we ever be able to carry out such precepts as these, of tender, holy, yetdiscriminating love?" might the humble disciple inquire. "Go to God with it," is our Lord's reply;but He expresses this with a fulness which leaves nothing to be desired, urging now not onlyconfidence, but importunity in prayer.7. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be openedunto you—Though there seems evidently a climax here, expressive of more and more importunity,1890JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonyet each of these terms used presents what we desire of God in a different light. We ask for whatwe wish; we seek for what we miss; we knock for that from which we feel ourselves shut out.Answering to this threefold representation is the triple assurance of success to our believing efforts."But ah!" might some humble disciple say, "I cannot persuade myself that I have any interest withGod." To meet this, our Lord repeats the triple assurance He had just given, but in such a form asto silence every such complaint.8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him thatknocketh it shall be opened—Of course, it is presumed that he asks aright—that is, in faith—andwith an honest purpose to make use of what he receives. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him askof God. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (undecided whether to be altogether on the Lord'sside). For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let notthat man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (Jas 1:5-7). Hence, "Ye ask, and receivenot, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (Jas 4:3).9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread—a loaf.will he give him a stone?—round and smooth like such a loaf or cake as was much in use, butonly to mock him.10. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?—like it, indeed, but only to sting him.11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much moreshall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him!—Bad as our fallennature is, the father in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers havetowards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke (see on Lu 11:13), instead of"good things," our Lord asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that askHim. At this early stage of His ministry, and before such an audience, He seems to avoid such sharpdoctrinal teaching as was more accordant with His plan at the riper stage indicated in Luke, and inaddressing His own disciples exclusively.Golden Rule (Mt 7:12).12. Therefore—to say all in one word.all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them—the samething and in the same way.for this is the law and the prophets—"This is the substance of all relative duty; all Scripturein a nutshell." Incomparable summary! How well called "the royal law!" (Jas 2:8; compare Ro13:9). It is true that similar maxims are found floating in the writings of the cultivated Greeks andRomans, and naturally enough in the Rabbinical writings. But so expressed as it is here—inimmediate connection with, and as the sum of such duties as has been just enjoined, and suchprinciples as had been before taught—it is to be found nowhere else. And the best commentaryupon this fact is, that never till our Lord came down thus to teach did men effectually and widelyexemplify it in their practice. The precise sense of the maxim is best referred to common sense. Itis not, of course, what—in our wayward, capricious, gasping moods—we should wish that menwould do to us, that we are to hold ourselves bound to do to them; but only what—in the exerciseof an impartial judgment, and putting ourselves in their place—we consider it reasonable that theyshould do to us, that we are to do to them.Mt 7:13-29. Conclusion and Effect of the Sermon on the Mount.We have here the application of the whole preceding discourse.1891JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonConclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:13-27). "The righteousness of the kingdom," soamply described, both in principle and in detail, would be seen to involve self-sacrifice at everystep. Multitudes would never face this. But it must be faced, else the consequences will be fatal.This would divide all within the sound of these truths into two classes: the many, who will followthe path of ease and self-indulgence—end where it might; and the few, who, bent on eternal safetyabove everything else, take the way that leads to it—at whatever cost. This gives occasion to thetwo opening verses of this application.13. Enter ye in at the strait gate—as if hardly wide enough to admit one at all. This expressesthe difficulty of the first right step in religion, involving, as it does, a triumph over all our naturalinclinations. Hence the still stronger expression in Luke (Lu 13:24), "Strive to enter in at the straitgate."for wide is the gate—easily entered.and broad is the way—easily trodden.that leadeth to destruction, and—thus lured "many there be which go in thereat."14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life—In otherwords, the whole course is as difficult as the first step; and (so it comes to pass that).few there be that find it—The recommendation of the broad way is the ease with which it istrodden and the abundance of company to be found in it. It is sailing with a fair wind and a favorabletide. The natural inclinations are not crossed, and fears of the issue, if not easily hushed, are in thelong run effectually subdued. The one disadvantage of this course is its end—it "leadeth todestruction." The great Teacher says it, and says it as "One having authority." To the supposedinjustice or harshness of this He never once adverts. He leaves it to be inferred that such a courserighteously, naturally, necessarily so ends. But whether men see this or no, here He lays down thelaw of the kingdom, and leaves it with us. As to the other way, the disadvantage of it lies in itsnarrowness and solicitude. Its very first step involves a revolution in all our purposes and plans forlife, and a surrender of all that is dear to natural inclination, while all that follows is but a repetitionof the first great act of self-sacrifice. No wonder, then, that few find and few are found in it. But ithas one advantage—it "leadeth unto life." Some critics take "the gate" here, not for the first, butthe last step in religion; since gates seldom open into roads, but roads usually terminate in a gate,leading straight to a mansion. But as this would make our Lord's words to have a very inverted andunnatural form as they stand, it is better, with the majority of critics, to view them as we have done.But since such teaching would be as unpopular as the way itself, our Lord next forewarns Hishearers that preachers of smooth things—the true heirs and representatives of the false prophets ofold—would be rife enough in the new kingdom.15. Beware—But beware.of false prophets—that is, of teachers coming as authorized expounders of the mind of Godand guides to heaven. (See Ac 20:29, 30; 2Pe 2:1, 2).which come to you in sheep's clothing—with a bland, gentle, plausible exterior; persuadingyou that the gate is not strait nor the way narrow, and that to teach so is illiberal andbigoted—precisely what the old prophets did (Eze 13:1-10, 22).but inwardly they are ravening wolves—bent on devouring the flock for their own ends (2Co11:2, 3, 13-15).1892JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16. Ye shall know them by their fruits—not their doctrines—as many of the elder interpretersand some later ones explain it—for that corresponds to the tree itself; but the practical effect oftheir teaching, which is the proper fruit of the tree.Do men gather grapes of thorns—any kind of prickly plant.or figs of thistles?—a three-pronged variety. The general sense is obvious—Every tree bearsits own fruit.17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth goodfruit—Obvious as is the truth here expressed in different forms—that the heart determines and isthe only proper interpreter of the actions of our life—no one who knows how the Church of Romemakes a merit of actions, quite apart from the motives that prompt them, and how the same tendencymanifests itself from time to time even among Protestant Christians, can think it too obvious to beinsisted on by the teachers of divine truth. Here follows a wholesome digression.19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire—(Seeon Mt 3:10).20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them—that is, But the point I now press is notso much the end of such, as the means of detecting them; and this, as already said, is their fruits.The hypocrisy of teachers now leads to a solemn warning against religious hypocrisy in general.21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord—the reduplication of the title "Lord"denoting zeal in according it to Christ (see Mr 14:45). Yet our Lord claims and expects this of allHis disciples, as when He washed their feet: "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for soI am" (Joh 13:13).shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which isin heaven—that will which it had been the great object of this discourse to set forth. Yet our Lordsays warily, not "the will of your Father," but "of My Father"; thus claiming a relationship to HisFather with which His disciples might not intermeddle, and which He never lets down. And He sospeaks here to give authority to His asseverations. But now He rises higher still—not formallyannouncing Himself as the Judge, but intimating what men will say to Him, and He to them, whenHe sits as their final judge.22. Many will say to me in that day—What day? It is emphatically unnamed. But it is the dayto which He had just referred, when men shall "enter" or not enter "into the kingdom of heaven."(See a similar way of speaking of "that day" in 2Ti 1:12; 4:8).Lord, Lord—The reiteration denotes surprise. "What, Lord? How is this? Are we to bedisowned?"have we not prophesied—or, "publicly taught." As one of the special gifts of the Spirit in theearly Church, it has the sense of "inspired and authoritative teaching," and is ranked next to theapostleship. (See 1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11). In this sense it is used here, as appears from what follows.in thy name—or, "to thy name," and so in the two following clauses—"having reference toThy name as the sole power in which we did it."and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works—or,miracles. These are selected as three examples of the highest services rendered to the Christiancause, and through the power of Christ's own name, invoked for that purpose; He Himself, too,responding to the call. And the threefold repetition of the question, each time in the same form,expresses in the liveliest manner the astonishment of the speakers at the view now taken of them.1893JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. And then will I profess unto them—or, openly proclaim—tearing off the mask.I never knew you—What they claimed—intimacy with Christ—is just what He repudiates,and with a certain scornful dignity. "Our acquaintance was not broken off—there never was any."depart from me—(Compare Mt 25:41). The connection here gives these words an awfulsignificance. They claimed intimacy with Christ, and in the corresponding passage, Lu 13:26, arerepresented as having gone out and in with Him on familiar terms. "So much the worse for you,"He replies: "I bore with that long enough; but now—begone!"ye that work iniquity—not "that wrought iniquity"; for they are represented as fresh from thescenes and acts of it as they stand before the Judge. (See on the almost identical, but even morevivid and awful, description of the scene in Lu 13:24-27). That the apostle alludes to these verywords in 2Ti 2:19 there can hardly be any doubt—"Nevertheless the foundation of God standethsure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth thename of Christ depart from iniquity."24. Therefore—to bring this discourse to a close.whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them—see Jas 1:22, which seems aplain allusion to these words; also Lu 11:28; Ro 2:13; 1Jo 3:7.I will liken him unto a wise man—a shrewd, prudent, provident man.which built his house upon a rock—the rock of true discipleship, or genuine subjection toChrist.25. And the rain descended—from above.and the floods came—from below.and the winds blew—sweeping across.and beat upon that house—thus from every direction.and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock—See 1Jo 2:17.26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine—in the attitude of discipleship.and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon thesand—denoting a loose foundation—that of an empty profession and mere external services.27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon thathouse—struck against that house;and it fell: and great was the fall of it—terrible the ruin! How lively must this imagery havebeen to an audience accustomed to the fierceness of an Eastern tempest, and the suddenness andcompleteness with which it sweeps everything unsteady before it!Effect of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:28, 29).28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonishedat his doctrine—rather, "His teaching," for the reference is to the manner of it quite as much asthe matter, or rather more so.29. For he taught them as one having authority—The word "one," which our translatorshave here inserted, only weakens the statement.and not as the scribes—The consciousness of divine authority, as Lawgiver, Expounder andJudge, so beamed through His teaching, that the scribes' teaching could not but appear drivellingin such a light.1894JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 8Mt 8:1-4. Healing of a Leper. ( = Mr 1:40-45; Lu 5:12-16).The time of this miracle seems too definitely fixed here to admit of our placing it where it standsin Mark and Luke, in whose Gospels no such precise note of time is given.1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.2. And, behold, there came a leper—"a man full of leprosy," says Lu 5:12. Much has beenwritten on this disease of leprosy, but certain points remain still doubtful. All that needs be saidhere is that it was a cutaneous disease, of a loathsome, diffusive, and, there is reason to believe,when thoroughly pronounced, incurable character; that though in its distinctive features it is stillfound in several countries—as Arabia, Egypt, and South Africa—it prevailed, in the form of whatis called white leprosy, to an unusual extent, and from a very early period, among the Hebrews;and that it thus furnished to the whole nation a familiar and affecting symbol of SIN, considered as(1) loathsome, (2) spreading, (3) incurable. And while the ceremonial ordinances for detection andcleansing prescribed in this case by the law of Moses (Le 13:1-14:57) held forth a coming remedy"for sin and for uncleanness" (Ps 51:7; 2Ki 5:1, 7, 10, 13, 14), the numerous cases of leprosy withwhich our Lord came in contact, and the glorious cures of them which He wrought, were a fittingmanifestation of the work which He came to accomplish. In this view, it deserves to be noticed thatthe first of our Lord's miracles of healing recorded by Matthew is this cure of a leper.and worshipped him—in what sense we shall presently see. Mark says (Mr 1:40), he came,"beseeching and kneeling to Him," and Luke says (Lu 5:12), "he fell on his face."saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean—As this is the only cure of leprosyrecorded by all the three first Evangelists, it was probably the first case of the kind; and if so, thisleper's faith in the power of Christ must have been formed in him by what he had heard of His othercures. And how striking a faith is it! He does not say he believed Him able, but with a brevityexpressive of a confidence that knew no doubt, he says simply, "Thou canst." But of Christ'swillingness to heal him he was not so sure. It needed more knowledge of Jesus than he could besupposed to have to assure him of that. But one thing he was sure of, that He had but to "will" it.This shows with what "worship" of Christ this leper fell on his face before Him. Clear theologicalknowledge of the Person of Christ was not then possessed even by those who were most with Himand nearest to Him. Much less could full insight into all that we know of the Only-begotten of theFather be expected of this leper. But he who at that moment felt and owned that to heal an incurabledisease needed but the fiat of the Person who stood before him, had assuredly that very faith in thegerm which now casts its crown before Him that loved us, and would at any time die for His blessedname.3. And Jesus—or "He," according to another reading,—"moved with compassion," says Mark(Mr 1:41); a precious addition.put forth his hand, and touched him—Such a touch occasioned ceremonial defilement (Le5:3); even as the leper's coming near enough for contact was against the Levitical regulations (Le13:46). But as the man's faith told him there would be no case for such regulations if the cure hehoped to experience should be accomplished, so He who had healing in His wings transcended allsuch statutes.saying, I will; be thou clean—How majestic those two words! By not assuring the man of Hispower to heal him, He delightfully sets His seal to the man's previous confession of that power;1895JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand by assuring him of the one thing of which he had any doubt, and for which he waited—Hiswill to do it—He makes a claim as divine as the cure which immediately followed it.And immediately his leprosy was cleansed—Mark, more emphatic, says (Mr 1:42), "And assoon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed"—asperfectly as instantaneously. What a contrast this to modern pretended cures!4. And Jesus—"straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away" (Mr 1:43), andsaith unto him, See thou tell no man—A hard condition this would seem to a grateful heart,whose natural language, in such a case, is "Come, hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare whatHe hath done for my soul" (Ps 66:16). We shall presently see the reason for it.but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded—(Le14:1-57).for a testimony unto them—a palpable witness that the Great Healer had indeed come, andthat "God had visited His people." What the sequel was, our Evangelist Matthew does not say; butMark thus gives it (Mr 1:45): "But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroadthe matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desertplaces: and they came to Him from every quarter." Thus—by an over-zealous, though most naturaland not very culpable, infringement of the injunction to keep the matter quiet—was our Lord, tosome extent, thwarted in His movements. As His whole course was sublimely noiseless (Mt 12:19),so we find Him repeatedly taking steps to prevent matters prematurely coming to a crisis with Him.(But see on Mr 5:19, 20). "And He withdrew Himself," adds Luke (Lu 5:16), "into the wilderness,and prayed"; retreating from the popular excitement into the secret place of the Most High, andthus coming forth as dew upon the mown grass, and as showers that water the earth (Ps 72:6). Andthis is the secret both of strength and of sweetness in the servants and followers of Christ in everyage.Mt 8:5-13. Healing of the Centurion's Servant. ( = Lu 7:1-10).This incident belongs to a later stage. For the exposition, see on Lu 7:1-10.Mt 8:14-17. Healing of Peter's Mother-in-law and Many Others. ( = Mr 1:29-34; Lu 4:38-41).For the exposition, see on Mr 1:29-34.Mt 8:18-22. Incidents Illustrative of Discipleship. ( = Lu 9:57-62).The incidents here are two: in the corresponding passage of Luke they are three. Here they areintroduced before the mission of the Twelve: in Luke, when our Lord was making preparation forHis final journey to Jerusalem. But to conclude from this, as some good critics do (as Bengel, Ellicott,&c.) that one of these incidents at least occurred twice—which led to the mention of the others atthe two different times—is too artificial. Taking them, then, as one set of occurrences, the questionarises. Are they recorded by Matthew or by Luke in their proper place? Neander, Schleiermacher, andOlshausen adhere to Luke's order; while Meyer, De Wette, and Lange prefer that of Matthew. Probablythe first incident is here in its right place. But as the command, in the second incident, to preachthe kingdom of God, would scarcely have been given at so early a period, it is likely that it and thethird incident have their true place in Luke. Taking these three incidents up here then we have,I. The Rash or Precipitate Disciple (Mt 8:19, 20).19. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thougoest.20. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests;but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head—Few as there were of the scribes who attached1896JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthemselves to Jesus, it would appear, from his calling Him Teacher, that this one was a "disciple"in that looser sense of the word in which it is applied to the crowds who flocked after Him, withmore or less conviction that His claims were well founded. But from the answer which he receivedwe are led to infer that there was more of transient emotion—of temporary impulse—than ofintelligent principle in the speech. The preaching of Christ had riveted and charmed him; his hearthad swelled; his enthusiasm had been kindled; and in this state of mind he will go anywhere withHim, and feels impelled to tell Him so. "Wilt thou?" replies the Lord Jesus. "Knowest thou whomthou art pledging thyself to follow, and whither haply He may lead thee? No warm home, no downypillow has He for thee: He has them not for Himself. The foxes are not without their holes, nor dothe birds of the air lack their nests; but the Son of man has to depend on the hospitality of others,and borrow the pillow whereon He lays His head." How affecting is this reply! And yet He rejectsnot this man's offer, nor refuses him the liberty to follow Him. Only He will have him know whathe is doing, and "count the cost." He will have him weigh well the real nature and the strength ofhis attachment, whether it be such as will abide in the day of trial. If so, he will be right welcome,for Christ puts none away. But it seems too plain that in this case that had not been done. And sowe have called this the Rash or Precipitate Disciple.II. The Procrastinating or Entangled Disciple (Mt 8:21, 22).As this is more fully given in Luke (Lu 9:59), we must take both together. "And He said untoanother of His disciples, Follow Me. But he said,"Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; andlet the dead bury their dead—or, as more definitely in Luke, "Let the dead bury their dead: butgo thou and preach the kingdom of God" (Lu 9:60). This disciple did not, like the former, volunteerhis services, but is called by the Lord Jesus, not only to follow, but to preach Him. And he is quitewilling; only he is not ready just yet. "Lord, I will; but"—"There is a difficulty in the way just now;but that once removed, I am Thine." What now is this difficulty? Was his father actually dead—lyinga corpse—having only to be buried? Impossible. As it was the practice, as noticed on Lu 7:12, tobury on the day of death, it is not very likely that this disciple would have been here at all if hisfather had just breathed his last; nor would the Lord, if He was there, have hindered him dischargingthe last duties of a son to a father. No doubt it was the common case of a son having a frail or agedfather, not likely to live long, whose head he thinks it his duty to see under the ground ere he goesabroad. "This aged father of mine will soon be removed; and if I might but delay till I see himdecently interred, I should then be free to preach the kingdom of God wherever duty might callme." This view of the case will explain the curt reply, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thouand preach the kingdom of God." Like all the other paradoxical sayings of our Lord, the key to itis the different senses—a higher and a lower—in which the same word "dead" is used: There aretwo kingdoms of God in existence upon earth; the kingdom of nature, and the kingdom of grace:To the one kingdom all the children of this world, even the most ungodly, are fully alive; to theother, only the children of light: The reigning irreligion consists not in indifference to the commonhumanities of social life, but to things spiritual and eternal: Fear not, therefore, that your father willin your absence be neglected, and that when he breathes his last there will not be relatives andfriends ready enough to do to him the last offices of kindness. Your wish to discharge these yourselfis natural, and to be allowed to do it a privilege not lightly to be foregone. But the kingdom of Godlies now all neglected and needy: Its more exalted character few discern; to its paramount claimsfew are alive: and to "preach" it fewer still are qualified and called: But thou art: The Lord therefore1897JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhath need of thee: Leave, then, those claims of nature, high though they be, to those who are deadto the still higher claims of the kingdom of grace, which God is now erecting upon earth—Let thedead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And so have we here the genuine,but Procrastinating or Entangled Disciple.The next case is recorded only by Luke:III. The Irresolute or Wavering Disciple (Lu 9:61, 62).Lu 9:61:And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid themfarewell which are at home at my house.Lu 9:62:And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, andlooking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. But for the very different replies given,we should hardly have discerned the difference between this and the second case:the one man called, indeed, and the other volunteering, as did the first; but bothseemingly alike willing, and only having a difficulty in their way just at that moment.But, by help of what is said respectively to each, we perceive the great differencebetween the two cases. From the warning given against "looking back," it is evidentthat this man's discipleship was not yet thorough, his separation from the world notentire. It is not a case of going back, but of looking back; and as there is here amanifest reference to the case of "Lot's wife" (Ge 19:26; and see on Lu 17:32), wesee that it is not actual return to the world that we have here to deal with, but areluctance to break with it. The figure of putting one's hand to the plough and lookingback is an exceedingly vivid one, and to an agricultural people most impressive. Asploughing requires an eye intent on the furrow to be made, and is marred the instantone turns about, so will they come short of salvation who prosecute the work of Godwith a distracted attention, a divided heart. The reference may be chiefly to ministers;but the application at least is general. As the image seems plainly to have beensuggested by the case of Elijah and Elisha, a difficulty may be raised, requiring amoment's attention. When Elijah cast his mantle about Elisha, which the youth quiteunderstood to mean appointing him his successor, he was ploughing with twelveyoke of oxen, the last pair held by himself. Leaving his oxen, he ran after the prophet,and said, "Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and [then] I will followthee." Was this said in the same spirit with the same speech uttered by our disciple?Let us see. "And Elijah said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee."Commentators take this to mean that Elijah had really done nothing to hinder himfrom going on with all his ordinary duties. But to us it seems clear that Elijah'sintention was to try what manner of spirit the youth was of:—"Kiss thy father andmother? And why not? By all means, go home and stay with them; for what have Idone to thee? I did but throw a mantle about thee; but what of that?" If this was hismeaning, Elisha thoroughly apprehended and nobly met it. "He returned back fromhim, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with theinstruments of the oxen (the wood of his ploughing implements), and gave unto the1898JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonpeople, and they did eat: then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered untohim" (1Ki 19:19-21). We know not if even his father and mother had time to becalled to this hasty feast. But this much is plain, that, though in affluentcircumstances, he gave up his lower calling, with all its prospects, for the higherand at that time perilous, office to which he was called. What now is the bearing ofthese two cases? Did Elisha do wrong in bidding them farewell with whom he wasassociated in his early calling? Or, if not, would this disciple have done wrong if hehad done the same thing, and in the same spirit, with Elisha? Clearly not. Elisha'sdoing it proved that he could with safety do it; and our Lord's warning is not againstbidding them farewell which were at home at his house, but against the probablefatal consequences of that step; lest the embraces of earthly relationship shouldprove too strong for him, and he should never return to follow Christ. Accordingly,we have called this the Irresolute or Wavering Disciple.Mt 8:23-27. Jesus Crossing the Sea of Galilee, Miraculously Stills a Tempest. ( = Mr 4:35-41; Lu 8:22-25).For the exposition, see on Mr 4:35-41.Mt 8:28-34. Jesus Heals the Gergesene Demoniacs. ( = Mr 5:1-20; Lu 8:26-39).For the exposition, see on Mr 5:1-20.CHAPTER 9Mt 9:1-8. Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mr 2:1-12; Lu 5:17-26).This incident appears to follow next in order of time to the cure of the leper (Mt 8:1-4). For theexposition, see on Mr 2:1-12.Mt 9:9-13. Matthew's Call and Feast. ( = Mr 2:14-17; Lu 5:27-32).The Call of Matthew (Mt 9:9).9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence—that is, from the scene of the paralytic's cure inCapernaum, towards the shore of the Sea of Galilee, on which that town lay. Mark, as usual, picturesthe scene more in detail, thus (Mr 2:13): "And He went forth again by the seaside; and all themultitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them"—or, "kept teaching them." "And as He passedby"he saw a man, named Matthew—the writer of this precious Gospel, who here, with singularmodesty and brevity, relates the story of his own calling. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi, whichseems to have been his family name. In their lists of the twelve apostles, however, Mark and Lukegive him the name of Matthew, which seems to have been the name by which he was known as adisciple. While he himself sinks his family name, he is careful not to sink his occupation, theobnoxious associations with which he would place over against the grace that called him from it,and made him an apostle. (See on Mt 10:3). Mark alone tells us (Mr 2:14) that he was "the son ofAlphæus"—the same, probably, with the father of James the Less. From this and other considerationsit is pretty certain that he must at least have heard of our Lord before this meeting. Unnecessarydoubts, even from an early period, have been raised about the identity of Levi and Matthew. Nocapable jury, with the evidence before them which we have in the Gospels, would hesitate in givinga unanimous verdict of identity.1899JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsitting at the receipt of custom—as a publican, which Luke (Lu 5:27) calls him. It means theplace of receipt, the toll house or booth in which the collector sat. Being in this case by the seaside,it might be the ferry tax for the transit of persons and goods across the lake, which he collected.(See on Mt 5:46).and he saith unto him, Follow me—Witching words these, from the lips of Him who neveremployed them without giving them resistless efficacy in the hearts of those they were spoken to.And he—"left all" (Lu 5:28), "arose and followed him."The Feast (Mt 9:10-13).10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house—The modesty of our Evangelistsignally appears here. Luke says (Lu 5:29) that "Levi made Him a great feast," or "reception,"while Matthew merely says, "He sat at meat"; and Mark and Luke say that it was in Levi's "ownhouse," while Matthew merely says, "He sat at meat in the house." Whether this feast was madenow, or not till afterwards, is a point of some importance in the order of events, and not agreedamong harmonists. The probability is that it did not take place till a considerable time afterwards.For Matthew, who ought surely to know what took place while his Lord was speaking at his owntable, tells us that the visit of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, occurred at that moment (Mt 9:18).But we know from Mark and Luke that this visit of Jairus did not take place till after our Lord'sreturn, at a later period from the country of the Gadarenes. (See Mr 5:21, &c., and Lu 8:40, &c.).We conclude, therefore, that the feast was not made in the novelty of his discipleship, but afterMatthew had had time to be somewhat established in the faith; when returning to Capernaum, hiscompassion for old friends, of his own calling and character, led him to gather them together thatthey might have an opportunity of hearing the gracious words which proceeded out of His Master'smouth, if haply they might experience a like change.behold, many publicans and sinners—Luke says, "a great company" (Lu 5:29)came and sat down with him and his disciples—In all such cases the word rendered "sat" is"reclined," in allusion to the ancient mode of lying on couches at meals.11. And when the Pharisees—"and scribes," add Mark and Luke (Mr 2:6; Lu 5:21).saw it, they said—"murmured" or "muttered," says Luke (Lu 5:30).unto his disciples—not venturing to put their question to Jesus Himself.Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?—(See on Lu 15:2).12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them—to the Pharisees and scribes; addressingHimself to them, though they had shrunk from addressing Him.They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick—that is, "Ye deem yourselveswhole; My mission, therefore, is not to you: The physician's business is with the sick; therefore eatI with publicans and sinners." Oh, what myriads of broken hearts, of sin-sick souls, have beenbound up by this matchless saying!13. But go ye and learn what that meaneth—(Ho 6:6),I will have mercy, and not sacrifice—that is, the one rather than the other. "Sacrifice," thechief part of the ceremonial law, is here put for a religion of literal adherence to mere rules; while"mercy" expresses such compassion for the fallen as seeks to lift them up. The duty of keepingaloof from the polluted, in the sense of "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,"is obvious enough; but to understand this as prohibiting such intercourse with them as is necessaryto their recovery, is to abuse it. This was what these pharisaical religionists did, and this is whatour Lord here exposes.1900JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfor I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance—The italicized words areof doubtful authority here, and more than doubtful authority in Mr 2:17; but in Lu 5:32 they areundisputed. We have here just the former statement stripped of its figure. "The righteous" are thewhole; "sinners," the sick. When Christ "called" the latter, as He did Matthew, and probably someof those publicans and sinners whom he had invited to meet Him, it was to heal them of theirspiritual maladies, or save their souls: "The righteous," like those miserable self-satisfied Pharisees,"He sent empty away."Mt 9:14-17. Discourse on Fasting.See on Lu 5:33-39.Mt 9:18-26. The Woman with the Issue of Blood Healed.—The Daughter of Jairus Raised to Life. ( = Lu 8:40-56;Mr 5:21-43).For the exposition, see on Mr 5:21-43.Mt 9:27-34. Two Blind Men and a Dumb Demoniac Healed.These two miracles are recorded by Matthew alone.Two Blind Men Healed (Mt 9:27-31).27. And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him—hearing, doubtless, asin a later case is expressed, "that Jesus passed by" (Mt 20:30).crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us—It is remarkable that in the onlyother recorded case in which the blind applied to Jesus for their sight, and obtained it, they addressedHim, over and over again, by this one Messianic title, so well known—"Son of David" (Mt 20:30).Can there be a doubt that their faith fastened on such great Messianic promises as this, "Then theeyes of the blind shall be opened," &c. (Isa 35:5)? and if so, this appeal to Him, as the Consolationof Israel, to do His predicted office, would fall with great weight upon the ears of Jesus.28. And when he was come into the house—To try their faith and patience, He seems to havemade them no answer. Butthe blind men came to Him—which, no doubt, was what He desired.and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? they said unto him, Yea,Lord—Doubtless our Lord's design was not only to put their faith to the test by this question, butto deepen it, to raise their expectation of a cure, and so prepare them to receive it; and the cordialacknowledgment, so touchingly simple, which they immediately made to Him of His power to healthem, shows how entirely that object was gained.29. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you—not, Receivea cure proportioned to your faith, but, Receive this cure as granted to your faith. Thus would theycarry about with them, in their restored vision, a gracious seal of the faith which drew it from theircompassionate Lord.30. And their eyes were opened: and Jesus straitly charged them—The expression is verystrong, denoting great earnestness.31. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country—(Seeon Mt 8:4).A Dumb Demoniac Healed (Mt 9:32-34).32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with adevil—"demonized." The dumbness was not natural, but was the effect of the possession.33. And when the devil—demon.1901JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwas cast out, the dumb spake—The particulars in this case are not given; the object beingsimply to record the instantaneous restoration of the natural faculties on the removal of the malignantoppression of them, the form which the popular astonishment took, and the very different effect ofit upon another class.and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel—referring, probably,not to this case only, but to all those miraculous displays of healing power which seemed to promisea new era in the history of Israel. Probably they meant by this language to indicate, as far as theythought it safe to do so, their inclination to regard Him as the promised Messiah.34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils—"thedemons through the prince of the demons." This seems to be the first muttering of a theory of suchmiracles which soon became a fixed mode of calumniating them—a theory which would be ridiculousif it were not melancholy as an outburst of the darkest malignity. (See on Mt 12:24, &c.).Mt 9:35-10:5. Third Galilean Circuit—Mission of the Twelve Apostles.As the Mission of the Twelve supposes the previous choice of them—of which our Evangelistgives no account, and which did not take place till a later stage of our Lord's public life—it isintroduced here out of its proper place, which is after what is recorded in Lu 6:12-19.Third Galilean Circuit (Mt 9:35)—and probably the last.35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, andpreaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among thepeople—The italicized words are of more than doubtful authority here, and were probably introducedhere from Mt 4:23. The language here is so identical with that used in describing the first circuit(Mt 4:23), that we may presume the work done on both occasions was much the same. It was justa further preparation of the soil, and a fresh sowing of the precious seed. (See on Mt 4:23). To thesefruitful journeyings of the Redeemer, "with healing in His wings," Peter no doubt alludes, when,in his address to the household of Cornelius, he spoke of "How God anointed Jesus of Nazarethwith the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressedof the devil: for God was with Him" (Ac 10:38).Jesus Compassionating the Multitudes, Asks Prayer for Help (Mt 9:36-38). He had now returnedfrom His preaching and healing circuit, and the result, as at the close of the first one, was thegathering of a vast and motley multitude around Him. After a whole night spent in prayer, He hadcalled His more immediate disciples, and from them had solemnly chosen the twelve; then, comingdown from the mountain, on which this was transacted, to the multitudes that waited for Him below,He had addressed to them—as we take it—that discourse which bears so strong a resemblance tothe Sermon on the Mount that many critics take it to be the same. (See on Lu 6:12-49; and Mt 5:1,Introductory Remarks). Soon after this, it should seem, the multitudes still hanging on Him, Jesusis touched with their wretched and helpless condition, and acts as is now to be described.36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, becausethey fainted—This reading, however, has hardly any authority at all. The true reading doubtlessis, "were harassed."and were scattered abroad—rather, "lying about," "abandoned," or "neglected."as sheep, having no shepherd—their pitiable condition as wearied under bodily fatigue, a vastdisorganized mass, being but a faint picture of their wretchedness as the victims of pharisaicguidance; their souls uncared for, yet drawn after and hanging upon Him. This moved the Redeemer'scompassion.1902JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson37. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous—His eye doubtless restedimmediately on the Jewish field, but this he saw widening into the vast field of "the world" (Mt13:38), teeming with souls having to be gathered to Him.but the labourers—men divinely qualified and called to gather them in—"are few."38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest—the great Lord and Proprietor of all. CompareJoh 15:1, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman."that he will send forth labourers into his harvest—The word properly means "thrust forth";but this emphatic sense disappears in some places, as in Mt 9:25, and Joh 10:4—"When He puttethforth His own sheep." (See on Mt 4:1).CHAPTER 10Mt 10:1-5. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mr 6:7-13; Lu 9:1-6).The last three verses of the ninth chapter form the proper introduction to the Mission of theTwelve, as is evident from the remarkable fact that the Mission of the Seventy was prefaced by thevery same words. (See on Lu 10:2).1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power—The wordsignifies both "power," and "authority" or "right." Even if it were not evident that here both ideasare included, we find both words expressly used in the parallel passage of Luke (Lu 9:1)—"Hegave them power and authority"—in other words, He both qualified and authorized them.against—or "over."2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these—The other Evangelists enumerate thetwelve in immediate connection with their appointment (Mr 3:13-19; Lu 6:13-16). But our Evangelist,not intending to record the appointment, but only the Mission of the Twelve, gives their nameshere. And as in the Acts (Ac 1:13) we have a list of the Eleven who met daily in the upper roomwith the other disciples after their Master's ascension until the day of Pentecost, we have fourcatalogues in all for comparison.The first, Simon, who is called Peter—(See on Joh 1:42).and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother—named afterJames, as the younger of the two.3. Philip and Bartholomew—That this person is the same with "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee"is justly concluded for the three following reasons: First, because Bartholomew is not so properlyan individual's name as a family surname; next, because not only in this list, but in Mark's andLuke's (Mr 3:18; Lu 6:14), he follows the name of "Philip," who was the instrument of bringingNathanael first to Jesus (Joh 1:45); and again, when our Lord, after His resurrection, appeared atthe Sea of Tiberias, "Nathanael of Cana in Galilee" is mentioned along with six others, all of themapostles, as being present (Joh 21:2).Matthew the publican—In none of the four lists of the Twelve is this apostle so branded butin his own, as if he would have all to know how deep a debtor he had been to his Lord. (See on Mt1:3, 5, 6; 9:9).James the son of Alphaeus—the same person apparently who is called Cleopas or Clopas (Lu24:18; Joh 19:25); and, as he was the husband of Mary, sister to the Virgin, James the Less musthave been our Lord's cousin.1903JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus—the same, without doubt, as "Judas thebrother of James," mentioned in both the lists of Luke (Lu 6:16; Ac 1:13), while no one of the nameof Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus is so. It is he who in John (Joh 14:22) is sweetly called "Judas, notIscariot." That he was the author of the Catholic Epistle of "Jude," and not "the Lord's brother" (Mt13:55), unless these be the same, is most likely.4. Simon the Canaanite—rather "Kananite," but better still, "the Zealot," as he is called in Lu6:15, where the original term should not have been retained as in our version ("Simon, calledZelotes"), but rendered "Simon, called the Zealot." The word "Kananite" is just the Aramaic, orSyro-Chaldaic, term for "Zealot." Probably before his acquaintance with Jesus, he belonged to thesect of the Zealots, who bound themselves, as a sort of voluntary ecclesiastical police, to see thatthe law was not broken with impunity.and Judas Iscariot—that is, Judas of Kerioth, a town of Judah (Jos 15:25); so called todistinguish him from "Judas the brother of James" (Lu 6:16).who also betrayed him—a note of infamy attached to his name in all the catalogues of theTwelve.Mt 10:5-42. The Twelve Receive Their Instructions.This directory divides itself into three distinct parts. The first part (Mt 10:5-15) containsdirections for the brief and temporary mission on which they were now going forth, with respectto the places they were to go to, the works they were to do, the message they were to bear, and themanner in which they were to conduct themselves. The second part (Mt 10:16-23) contains directionsof no such limited and temporary nature, but opens out into the permanent exercise of the Gospelministry. The third part (Mt 10:24-42) is of wider application still, reaching not only to the ministryof the Gospel in every age, but to the service of Christ in the widest sense. It is a strong confirmationof this threefold division, that each part closes with the words, "Verily I SAY UNTO YOU" (Mt 10:15,23, 42).Directions for the Present Mission (Mt 10:5-15).5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of theGentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not—The Samaritans were Gentiles byblood; but being the descendants of those whom the king of Assyria had transported from the Eastto supply the place of the ten tribes carried captive, they had adopted the religion of the Jews, thoughwith admixtures of their own: and, as the nearest neighbors of the Jews, they occupied a placeintermediate between them and the Gentiles. Accordingly, when this prohibition was to be takenoff, on the effusion of the Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles were told that they should be Christ'switnesses first "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea," then "in Samaria," and lastly, "unto the uttermostpart of the earth" (Ac 1:8).6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel—Until Christ's death, which brokedown the middle wall of partition (Eph 2:14), the Gospel commission was to the Jews only, who,though the visible people of God, were "lost sheep," not merely in the sense which all sinners are(Isa 53:6; 1Pe 2:25; compare with Lu 19:10), but as abandoned and left to wander from the rightway by faithless shepherds (Jer 50:6, 17; Eze 34:2-6, &c.).7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand—(See on Mt 3:2).8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils—(The italicizedclause—"raise the dead"—is wanting in many manuscripts). Here we have the first communication1904JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof supernatural power by Christ Himself to His followers—thus anticipating the gifts of Pentecost.And right royally does He dispense it.freely ye have received, freely give—Divine saying, divinely said! (Compare De 15:10, 11;Ac 3:6)—an apple of gold in a setting of silver (Pr 25:11). It reminds us of that other golden sayingof our Lord, rescued from oblivion by Paul, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac 20:35).Who can estimate what the world owes to such sayings, and with what beautiful foliage and richfruit such seeds have covered, and will yet cover, this earth!9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses—"for" your purses; literally,"your belts," in which they kept their money.10. Nor scrip for your journey—the bag used by travellers for holding provisions.neither two coats—or tunics, worn next the skin. The meaning is, Take no change of dress,no additional articles.neither shoes—that is, change of them.nor yet staves—The received text here has "a staff," but our version follows another reading,"staves," which is found in the received text of Luke (Lu 9:3). The true reading, however, evidentlyis "a staff"—meaning, that they were not to procure even that much expressly for this missionaryjourney, but to go with what they had. No doubt it was the misunderstanding of this that gave riseto the reading "staves" in so many manuscripts Even if this reading were genuine, it could not mean"more than one"; for who, as Alford well asks, would think of taking a spare staff?for the workman is worthy of his meat—his "food" or "maintenance"; a principle which,being universally recognized in secular affairs, is here authoritatively applied to the services of theLord's workmen, and by Paul repeatedly and touchingly employed in his appeals to the churches(Ro 15:27; 1Co 9:11; Ga 6:6), and once as "scripture" (1Ti 5:18).11. And into whatsoever city or town—town or village.ye shall enter inquire—carefully.who in it is worthy—or "meet" to entertain such messengers; not in point of rank, of course,but of congenial disposition.and there abide till ye go thence—not shifting about, as if discontented, but returning thewelcome given with a courteous, contented, accommodating disposition.12. And when ye come into an house—or "the house," but it means not the worthy house, butthe house ye first enter, to try if it be worthy.salute it—show it the usual civilities.13. And if the house be worthy—showing this by giving you a welcome.let your peace come upon it—This is best explained by the injunction to the Seventy, "Andinto whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house" (Lu 10:5). This was the ancientsalutation of the East, and it prevails to this day. But from the lips of Christ and His messengers,it means something far higher, both in the gift and the giving of it, than in the current salutation.(See on Joh 14:27).but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you—If your peace finds a shut, instead ofan open, door in the heart of any household, take it back to yourselves, who know how to value it;and it will taste the sweeter to you for having been offered, even though rejected.14. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of thathouse or city—for possibly a whole town might not furnish one "worthy."1905JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonshake off the dust of your feet—"for a testimony against them," as Mark and Luke add (Mr6:11; Lu 10:11). By this symbolical action they vividly shook themselves from all connection withsuch, and all responsibility for the guilt of rejecting them and their message. Such symbolical actionswere common in ancient times, even among others than the Jews, as strikingly appears in Pilate(Mt 27:24). And even to this day it prevails in the East.15. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable—more bearable.for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city—Those Cities of thePlain, which were given to the flames for their loathsome impurities, shall be treated as less criminal,we are here taught, than those places which, though morally respectable, reject the Gospel messageand affront those that bear it.Directions for the Future and Permanent Exercise of the Christian Ministry (Mt 10:16-23).16. Behold, I send you forth—The "I" here is emphatic, holding up Himself as the Fountainof the Gospel ministry, as He is also the Great Burden of it.as sheep—defenseless.in the midst of wolves—ready to make a prey of you (Joh 10:12). To be left exposed, as sheepto wolves, would have been startling enough; but that the sheep should be sent among the wolveswould sound strange indeed. No wonder this announcement begins with the exclamation, "Behold."be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves—Wonderful combination this!Alone, the wisdom of the serpent is mere cunning, and the harmlessness of the dove little betterthan weakness: but in combination, the wisdom of the serpent would save them from unnecessaryexposure to danger; the harmlessness of the dove, from sinful expedients to escape it. In the apostolicage of Christianity, how harmoniously were these qualities displayed! Instead of the fanatical thirstfor martyrdom, to which a later age gave birth, there was a manly combination of unflinching zealand calm discretion, before which nothing was able to stand.17. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the councils—the local courts, usedhere for civil magistrates in general.and they will scourge you in their synagogues—By this is meant persecution at the hands ofthe ecclesiastics.18. And ye shall be brought before governors—provincial rulers.and kings—the highest tribunals.for my sake, for a testimony against them—rather, "to them," in order to bear testimony tothe truth and its glorious effects.and the Gentiles—"to the Gentiles"; a hint that their message would not long be confined tothe lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Acts of the Apostles are the best commentary on thesewarnings.19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought—be not solicitous or anxious. (See onMt 6:25).how or what ye shall speak—that is, either in what manner ye shall make your defense, or ofwhat matter it shall consist.for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak—(See Ex 4:12; Jer 1:7).20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you—Howremarkably this has been verified, the whole history of persecution thrillingly proclaims—from theActs of the Apostles to the latest martyrology.1906JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: andthe children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death—for example,by lodging information against them with the authorities. The deep and virulent hostility of the oldnature and life to the new—as of Belial to Christ—was to issue in awful wrenches of the dearestties; and the disciples, in the prospect of their cause and themselves being launched upon society,are here prepared for the worst.22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake—The universality of this hatredwould make it evident to them, that since it would not be owing to any temporary excitement, localvirulence, or personal prejudice, on the part of their enemies, so no amount of discretion on theirpart, consistent with entire fidelity to the truth, would avail to stifle that enmity—though it mightsoften its violence, and in some cases avert the outward manifestations of it.but he that endureth to the end shall be saved—a great saying, repeated, in connection withsimilar warnings, in the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt 24:13); and often reiteratedby the apostle as a warning against "drawing back unto perdition" (Heb 3:6, 13; 6:4-6; 10:23, 26-29,38, 39, &c.). As "drawing back unto perdition" is merely the palpable evidence of the want of "root"from the first in the Christian profession (Lu 8:13), so "enduring to the end" is just the properevidence of its reality and solidity.23. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another—"into the other." This,though applicable to all time, and exemplified by our Lord Himself once and again, had specialreference to the brief opportunities which Israel was to have of "knowing the time of His visitations."for verily I say unto you—what will startle you, but at the same time show you the solemnityof your mission, and the need of economizing the time for it.Ye shall not have gone over—Ye shall in nowise have completed.the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come—To understand this—as Lange and othersdo—in the first instance, of Christ's own peregrinations, as if He had said, "Waste not your timeupon hostile places, for I Myself will be after you ere your work be over"—seems almost trifling."The coming of the Son of man" has a fixed doctrinal sense, here referring immediately to the crisisof Israel's history as the visible kingdom of God, when Christ was to come and judge it; when "thewrath would come upon it to the uttermost"; and when, on the ruins of Jerusalem and the oldeconomy, He would establish His own kingdom. This, in the uniform language of Scripture, ismore immediately "the coming of the Son of man," "the day of vengeance of our God" (Mt 16:28;24:27, 34; compare with Heb 10:25; Jas 5:7-9)—but only as being such a lively anticipation of Hissecond coming for vengeance and deliverance. So understood, it is parallel with Mt 24:14 (on whichsee).Directions for the Service of Christ in Its Widest Sense (Mt 10:24-42).24. The disciple is not above his master—teacher.nor the servant above his lord—another maxim which our Lord repeats in various connections(Lu 6:40; Joh 13:16; 15:20).25. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. Ifthey have called the master of the house Beelzebub—All the Greek manuscripts, write"Beelzebul," which undoubtedly is the right form of this word. The other reading came in no doubtfrom the Old Testament "Baalzebub," the god of Ekron (2Ki 1:2), which it was designed to express.As all idolatry was regarded as devil worship (Le 17:7; De 32:17; Ps 106:37; 1Co 10:20), so thereseems to have been something peculiarly satanic about the worship of this hateful god, which caused1907JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhis name to be a synonym of Satan. Though we nowhere read that our Lord was actually called"Beelzebul," He was charged with being in league with Satan under that hateful name (Mt 12:24,26), and more than once Himself was charged with "having a devil" or "demon" (Mr 3:30; Joh7:20; 8:48). Here it is used to denote the most opprobrious language which could be applied by oneto another.how much more shall they call them of his household—"the inmates." Three relations inwhich Christ stands to His people are here mentioned: He is their Teacher—they His disciples; Heis their Lord—they His servants; He is the Master of the household—they its inmates. In all theserelations, He says here, He and they are so bound up together that they cannot look to fare betterthan He, and should think it enough if they fare no worse.26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; andhid, that shall not be known—that is, There is no use, and no need, of concealing anything; rightand wrong, truth and error, are about to come into open and deadly collision; and the day is comingwhen all hidden things shall be disclosed, everything seen as it is, and every one have his due (1Co4:5).27. What I tell you in darkness—in the privacy of a teaching for which men are not yet ripe.that speak ye in the light—for when ye go forth all will be ready.and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops—Give free and fearlessutterance to all that I have taught you while yet with you. Objection: But this may cost us our life?Answer: It may, but there their power ends:28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul—In Lu 12:4,"and after that have no more that they can do."but rather fear him—In Luke (Lu 12:5) this is peculiarly solemn, "I will forewarn you whomye shall fear," even Himwhich is able to destroy both soul and body in hell—A decisive proof this that there is a hellfor the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaitsthe lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of ournature, both of which, we are assured, will exist for ever. In the corresponding warning containedin Luke (Lu 12:4), Jesus calls His disciples "My friends," as if He had felt that such sufferingsconstituted a bond of peculiar tenderness between Him and them.29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?—In Luke (Lu 12:6) it is "five sparrows fortwo farthings"; so that, if the purchaser took two farthings' worth, he got one in addition—of suchsmall value were they.and one of them shall not fall on the ground—exhausted or killedwithout your Father—"Not one of them is forgotten before God," as it is in Luke (Lu 12:6).30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered—See Lu 21:18 (and compare for thelanguage 1Sa 14:45; Ac 27:34).31. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows—Was ever languageof such simplicity felt to carry such weight as this does? But here lies much of the charm and powerof our Lord's teaching.32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men—despising the shame.him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven—I will not be ashamed of him,but will own him before the most august of all assemblies.1908JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson33. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father whichis in heaven—before that same assembly: "He shall have from Me his own treatment of Me on theearth." (But see on Mt 16:27).34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but asword—strife, discord, conflict; deadly opposition between eternally hostile principles, penetratinginto and rending asunder the dearest ties.35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter againsther mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—(See on Lu 12:51-53).36. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household—This saying, which is quoted, asis the whole verse, from Mic 7:6, is but an extension of the Psalmist's complaint (Ps 41:9; 55:12-14),which had its most affecting illustration in the treason of Judas against our Lord Himself (Joh 13:18;Mt 26:48-50). Hence would arise the necessity of a choice between Christ and the nearest relations,which would put them to the severest test.37. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that lovethson or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me—(Compare De 33:9). As the preference ofthe one would, in the case supposed, necessitate the abandonment of the other, our Lord here, witha sublime, yet awful self-respect, asserts His own claims to supreme affection.38. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me—a sayingwhich our Lord once and again emphatically reiterates (Mt 16:24; Lu 9:23; 14:27). We have becomeso accustomed to this expression—"taking up one's cross"—in the sense of "being prepared fortrials in general for Christ's sake," that we are apt to lose sight of its primary and proper sensehere—"a preparedness to go forth even to crucifixion," as when our Lord had to bear His own crosson His way to Calvary—a saying the more remarkable as our Lord had not as yet given a hint thatHe would die this death, nor was crucifixion a Jewish mode of capital punishment.39. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall findit—another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord so often reiterates (Mt 16:25; Lu 17:33; Joh12:25). The pith of such paradoxical maxims depends on the double sense attached to the word"life"—a lower and a higher, the natural and the spiritual, the temporal and eternal. An entiresacrifice of the lower, with all its relationships and interests—or, a willingness to make it which isthe same thing—is indispensable to the preservation of the higher life; and he who cannot bringhimself to surrender the one for the sake of the other shall eventually lose both.40. He that receiveth you—entertaineth you,receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me—As the treatment whichan ambassador receives is understood and regarded as expressing the light in which he that sendshim is viewed, so, says our Lord here, "Your authority is Mine, as Mine is My Father's."41. He that receiveth a prophet—one divinely commissioned to deliver a message fromheaven. Predicting future events was no necessary part of a prophet's office, especially as the wordis used in the New Testament.in the name of a prophet—for his office's sake and love to his master. (See 2Ki 4:9 and seeon 2Ki 4:10).shall receive a prophet's reward—What an encouragement to those who are not prophets!(See Joh 3:5-8).and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man—from sympathywith his character and esteem for himself as such1909JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonshall receive a righteous man's reward—for he must himself have the seed of righteousnesswho has any real sympathy with it and complacency in him who possesses it.42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones—Beautiful epithet!Originally taken from Zec 13:7. The reference is to their lowliness in spirit, their littleness in theeyes of an undiscerning world, while high in Heaven's esteem.a cup of cold water only—meaning, the smallest service.in the name of a disciple—or, as it is in Mark (Mr 9:41), because ye are Christ's: from love toMe, and to him from his connection with Me.verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward—There is here a descendingclimax—"a prophet," "a righteous man," "a little one"; signifying that however low we come downin our services to those that are Christ's, all that is done for His sake, and that bears the stamp oflove to His blessed name, shall be divinely appreciated and owned and rewarded.CHAPTER 11Mt 11:1-19. The Imprisoned Baptist's Message to His Master—The Reply, and Discourse, on the Departure of theMessengers, Regarding John and His Mission. ( = Lu 7:18-35).1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelvedisciple—rather, "the twelve disciples,"he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities—This was scarcely a fourthcircuit—if we may judge from the less formal way in which it was expressed—but, perhaps, a setof visits paid to certain places, either not reached at all before, or too rapidly passed through, inorder to fill up the time till the return of the Twelve. As to their labors, nothing is said of them byour Evangelist. But Luke (Lu 9:6) says, "They departed, and went through, the towns," or "villages,""preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere." Mark (Mr 6:12, 13), as usual, is more explicit:"And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils (demons)and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." Though this "anointing with oil" wasnot mentioned in our Lord's instructions—at least in any of the records of them—we know it tohave been practiced long after this in the apostolic Church (see Jas 5:14, and compare Mr 6:12,13)—not medicinally, but as a sign of the healing virtue which was communicated by their hands,and a symbol of something still more precious. It was unction, indeed, but, as Bengel remarks, itwas something very different from what Romanists call extreme unction. He adds, what is veryprobable, that they do not appear to have carried the oil about with them, but, as the Jews used oilas a medicine, to have employed it just as they found it with the sick, in their own higher way.2. Now when John had heard in the prison—For the account of this imprisonment, see onMr 6:17-20.the works of Christ, he sent, &c.—On the whole passage, see on Lu 7:18-35.Mt 11:20-30. Outburst of Feeling Suggested to the Mind of Jesus by the Result of His Labors in Galilee.The connection of this with what goes before it and the similarity of its tone make it evident,we think, that it was delivered on the same occasion, and that it is but a new and more comprehensiveseries of reflections in the same strain.20. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, becausethey repented not.1910JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson21. Woe unto thee, Chorazin!—not elsewhere mentioned, but it must have lain near Capernaum.woe unto thee, Bethsaida—"fishing-house," a fishing station—on the western side of the Seaof Galilee, and to the north of Capernaum; the birthplace of three of the apostles—the brothersAndrew and Peter, and Philip. These two cities appear to be singled out to denote the whole regionin which they lay—a region favored with the Redeemer's presence, teaching, and works aboveevery other.for if the mighty works—the miracleswhich were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon—ancient and celebrated commercialcities, on the northeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, lying north of Palestine, and the latterthe northernmost. As their wealth and prosperity engendered luxury and its concomitantevils—irreligion and moral degeneracy—their overthrow was repeatedly foretold in ancient prophecy,and once and again fulfilled by victorious enemies. Yet they were rebuilt, and at this time were ina flourishing condition.they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes—remarkable language, showingthat they had done less violence to conscience, and so, in God's sight, were less criminal than theregion here spoken of.22. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment,than for you—more endurable.23. And thou, Capernaum—(See on Mt 4:13).which art exalted unto heaven—Not even of Chorazin and Bethsaida is this said. For sinceat Capernaum Jesus had His stated abode during the whole period of His public life which He spentin Galilee, it was the most favored spot upon earth, the most exalted in privilege.shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, hadbeen done in Sodom—destroyed for its pollutions.it would have remained until this day—having done no such violence to conscience, and soincurred unspeakably less guilt.24. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day ofjudgment, than for thee—"It has been indeed," says Dr. Stanley, "more tolerable, in one sense, inthe day of its earthly judgment, for the land of Sodom than for Capernaum; for the name, andperhaps even the remains of Sodom are still to be found on the shores of the Dead Sea; while thatof Capernaum has, on the Lake of Gennesareth, been utterly lost." But the judgment of which ourLord here speaks is still future; a judgment not on material cities, but their responsible inhabitants—ajudgment final and irretrievable.25. At that time Jesus answered and said—We are not to understand by this, that the previousdiscourse had been concluded, and that this is a record only of something said about the sameperiod. For the connection is most close, and the word "answered"—which, when there is no oneto answer, refers to something just before said, or rising in the mind of the speaker in consequenceof something said—confirms this. What Jesus here "answered" evidently was the melancholy resultsof His ministry, lamented over in the foregoing verses. It is as if He had said, "Yes; but there is abrighter side to the picture; even in those who have rejected the message of eternal life, it is thepride of their own hearts only which has blinded them, and the glory of the truth does but the moreappear in their inability to receive it. Nor have all rejected it even here; souls thirsting for salvationhave drawn water with joy from the wells of salvation; the weary have found rest; the hungry havebeen filled with good things, while the rich have been sent empty away."1911JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonI thank thee—rather, "I assent to thee." But this is not strong enough. The idea of "full" or"cordial" concurrence is conveyed by the preposition. The thing expressed is adoring acquiescence,holy satisfaction with that law of the divine procedure about to be mentioned. And as, when Heafterwards uttered the same words, He "exulted in spirit" (see on Lu 10:21), probably He did thesame now, though not recorded.O Father, Lord of heaven and earth—He so styles His Father here, to signify that from Himof right emanates all such high arrangements.because thou hast hid these things—the knowledge of these saving truths.from the wise and prudent—The former of these terms points to the men who pride themselvesupon their speculative or philosophical attainments; the latter to the men of worldly shrewdness—theclever, the sharp-witted, the men of affairs. The distinction is a natural one, and was well understood.(See 1Co 1:19, &c.). But why had the Father hid from such the things that belonged to their peace,and why did Jesus so emphatically set His seal to this arrangement? Because it is not for the offendingand revolted to speak or to speculate, but to listen to Him from whom we have broken loose, thatwe may learn whether there be any recovery for us at all; and if there be, on what principles—ofwhat nature—to what ends. To bring our own "wisdom and prudence" to such questions isimpertinent and presumptuous; and if the truth regarding them, or the glory of it, be "hid" from us,it is but a fitting retribution, to which all the right-minded will set their seal along with Jesus.hast revealed them unto babes—to babe-like men; men of unassuming docility, men who,conscious that they know nothing, and have no right to sit in judgment on the things that belong totheir peace, determine simply to "hear what God the Lord will speak." Such are well called "babes."(See Heb 5:13; 1Co 13:11; 14:20, &c.).26. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good—the emphatic and chosen term for expressingany object of divine complacency; whether Christ Himself (see on Mt 3:17), or God's graciouseternal arrangements (see on Php 2:13).in thy sight—This is just a sublime echo of the foregoing words; as if Jesus, when He utteredthem, had paused to reflect on it, and as if the glory of it—not so much in the light of its ownreasonableness as of God's absolute will that so it should be—had filled His soul.27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father—He does not say, They are revealed—asto one who knew them not, and was an entire stranger to them save as they were discovered toHim—but, They are "delivered over," or "committed," to Me of My Father; meaning the wholeadministration of the kingdom of grace. So in Joh 3:35, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath givenall things into His hand" (see on Joh 3:35). But though the "all things" in both these passages referproperly to the kingdom of grace, they of course include all things necessary to the full executionof that trust—that is, unlimited power. (So Mt 28:18; Joh 17:2; Eph 1:22).and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, savethe Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will—willethto reveal him—What a saying is this, that "the Father and the Son are mutually and exclusivelyknown to each other!" A higher claim to equality with the Father cannot be conceived. Either, then,we have here one of the revolting assumptions ever uttered, or the proper divinity of Christ shouldto Christians be beyond dispute. "But, alas for me!" may some burdened soul, sighing for relief,here exclaim. If it be thus with us, what can any poor creature do but lie down in passive despair,unless he could dare to hope that he may be one of the favored class "to whom the Son is willingto reveal the Father." But nay. This testimony to the sovereignty of that gracious "will," on which1912JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonalone men's salvation depends, is designed but to reveal the source and enhance the glory of it whenonce imparted—not to paralyze or shut the soul up in despair. Hear, accordingly, what follows:28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give yourest—Incomparable, ravishing sounds these—if ever such were heard in this weary, groaningworld! What gentleness, what sweetness is there in the very style of the invitation—"Hither to Me";and in the words, "All ye that toil and are burdened," the universal wretchedness of man is depicted,on both its sides—the active and the passive forms of it.29. Take my yoke upon you—the yoke of subjection to Jesus.and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto yoursouls—As Christ's willingness to empty Himself to the uttermost of His Father's requirements wasthe spring of ineffable repose to His own Spirit, so in the same track does He invite all to followHim, with the assurance of the same experience.30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light—Matchless paradox, even among theparadoxically couched maxims in which our Lord delights! That rest which the soul experienceswhen once safe under Christ's wing makes all yokes easy, all burdens light.CHAPTER 12Mt 12:1-8. Plucking Corn Ears on the Sabbath Day. ( = Mr 2:23-28; Lu 6:1-5).The season of the year when this occurred is determined by the event itself. Ripe corn ears arefound in the fields only just before harvest. The barley harvest seems clearly intended here, at theclose of our March and beginning of our April. It coincided with the Passover season, as the wheatharvest with Pentecost. But in Luke (Lu 6:1) we have a still more definite note of time, if we couldbe certain of the meaning of the peculiar term which he employs to express it. "It came to pass (hesays) on the sabbath, which was the first-second," for that is the proper rendering of the word, andnot "the second sabbath after the first," as in our version. Of the various conjectures what this maymean, that of Scaliger is the most approved, and, as we think, the freest from difficulty, namely, thefirst sabbath after the second day of the Passover; that is, the first of the seven sabbaths which wereto be reckoned from the second day of the Passover, which was itself a sabbath, until the next feast,the feast of Pentecost (Le 23:15, 16; De 16:9, 10) In this case, the day meant by the Evangelist isthe first of those seven sabbaths intervening between Passover and Pentecost. And if we are rightin regarding the "feast" mentioned in Joh 5:1 as a Passover, and consequently the second duringour Lord's public ministry (see on Joh 5:1), this plucking of the ears of corn must have occurredimmediately after the scene and the discourse recorded in Joh 5:19-47, which, doubtless, wouldinduce our Lord to hasten His departure for the north, to avoid the wrath of the Pharisees, whichHe had kindled at Jerusalem. Here, accordingly, we find Him in the fields—on His way probablyto Galilee.1. At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn—"the cornfields" (Mr 2:23;Lu 6:1).and his disciples were an hungered—not as one may be before his regular meals; but evidentlyfrom shortness of provisions: for Jesus defends their plucking the corn-ears and eating them on theplea of necessity.and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat—"rubbing them in their hands" (Lu 6:1).1913JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that whichis not lawful to do upon the sabbath day—The act itself was expressly permitted (De 23:25).But as being "servile work," which was prohibited on the sabbath day, it was regarded as sinful.3. But he said unto them, Have ye not read—or, as Mark (Mr 2:25) has it, "Have ye neverread."what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him—(1Sa 21:1-6)4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawfulfor him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?—No examplecould be more apposite than this. The man after God's own heart, of whom the Jews ever boasted,when suffering in God's cause and straitened for provisions, asked and obtained from the high priestwhat, according to the law, it was illegal for anyone save the priests to touch. Mark (Mr 2:26) saysthis occurred "in the days of Abiathar the high priest." But this means not during his highpriesthood—for it was under that of his father Ahimelech—but simply, in his time. Ahimelech wassoon succeeded by Abiathar, whose connection with David, and prominence during his reign, mayaccount for his name, rather than his father's, being here introduced. Yet there is not a little confusionin what is said of these priests in different parts of the Old Testament. Thus he is called both theson of the father of Ahimelech (1Sa 22:20; 2Sa 8:17); and Ahimelech is called Ahiah (1Sa 14:3),and Abimelech (1Ch 18:16).5. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the templeprofane the sabbath—by doing "servile work."and are blameless?—The double offerings required on the sabbath day (Nu 28:9) could notbe presented, and the new-baked showbread (Le 24:5; 1Ch 9:32) could not be prepared and presentedevery sabbath morning, without a good deal of servile work on the part of the priests; not to speakof circumcision, which, when the child's eighth day happened to fall on a sabbath, had to beperformed by the priests on that day. (See on Joh 7:22, 23).6. But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple—or rather, accordingto the reading which is best supported, "something greater." The argument stands thus: "The ordinaryrules for the observance of the sabbath give way before the requirements of the temple; but thereare rights here before which the temple itself must give way." Thus indirectly, but not the lessdecidedly, does our Lord put in His own claims to consideration in this question—claims to bepresently put in even more nakedly.7. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice—(Ho 6:6;Mic 6:6-8, &c.). See on Mt 9:13.ye would not have condemned the guiltless—that is, Had ye understood the great principleof all religion, which the Scripture everywhere recognizes—that ceremonial observances must giveway before moral duties, and particularly the necessities of nature—ye would have refrained fromthese captious complaints against men who in this matter are blameless. But our Lord added aspecific application of this great principle to the law of the sabbath, preserved only in Mark: "Andhe said unto them, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" (Mr 2:27). Aglorious and far-reaching maxim, alike for the permanent establishment of the sabbath and the truefreedom of its observance.8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day—In what sense now is the Son ofman Lord of the sabbath day? Not surely to abolish it—that surely were a strange lordship, especiallyjust after saying that it was made or instituted for MAN—but to own it, to interpret it, to preside1914JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonover it, and to ennoble it, by merging it in the "Lord's Day" (Re 1:10), breathing into it an air ofliberty and love necessarily unknown before, and thus making it the nearest resemblance to theeternal sabbatism.Mt 12:9-21. The Healing of a Withered Hand on the Sabbath Day and Retirement of Jesus to Avoid Danger. ( =Mr 3:1-12; Lu 6:6-11).Healing of a Withered Hand (Mt 12:9-14).9. And when he was departed thence—but "on another sabbath" (Lu 6:6).he went into their synagogue—"and taught." He had now, no doubt, arrived in Galilee; butthis, it would appear, did not occur at Capernaum, for after it was over, He "withdrew Himelf," itis said "to the sea" (Mr 3:7), whereas Capernaum was at the sea.And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered—disabled by paralysis (as in1Ki 13:4). It was his right hand, as Luke (Lu 6:6) graphically notes.And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they mightaccuse him—Mark and Luke (Mr 3:2; Lu 6:7) say they "watched Him whether He would heal onthe sabbath day." They were now come to the length of dogging His steps, to collect materials fora charge of impiety against Him. It is probable that it was to their thoughts rather than their wordsthat Jesus addressed Himself in what follows.11. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep, andif it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?12. How much then is a man better than a sheep?—Resistless appeal! "A righteous manregardeth the life of his beast" (Pr 12:10), and would instinctively rescue it from death or sufferingon the sabbath day; how much more his nobler fellow man! But the reasoning, as given in the othertwo Gospels, is singularly striking: "But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which hadthe withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then saidJesus unto them, I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil?to save life or to destroy it?" (Lu 6:8, 9), or as in Mark (Mr 3:4), "to kill?" He thus shuts them upto this startling alternative: "Not to do good, when it is in the power of our hand to do it, is to doevil; not to save life, when we can, is to kill"—and must the letter of the sabbath rest be kept at thisexpense? This unexpected thrust shut their mouths. By this great ethical principle our Lord, wesee, held Himself bound, as man. But here we must turn to Mark, whose graphic details make thesecond Gospel so exceedingly precious. "When He had looked round about on them with anger,being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man" (Mr 3:5). This is one of thevery few passages in the Gospel history which reveal our Lord's feelings. How holy this anger wasappears from the "grief" which mingled with it at "the hardness of their hearts."13. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth—thepower to obey going forth with the word of command.and it was restored whole, like as the other—The poor man, having faith in this wonderfulHealer—which no doubt the whole scene would singularly help to strengthen—disregarded theproud and venomous Pharisees, and thus gloriously put them to shame.14. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroyhim—This is the first explicit mention of their murderous designs against our Lord. Luke (Lu 6:11)says, "they were filled with madness, and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus."But their doubt was not, whether to get rid of Him, but how to compass it. Mark (Mr 3:6), as usual,is more definite: "The Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against1915JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonHim, how they might destroy Him." These Herodians were supporters of Herod's dynasty, createdby Cæsar—a political rather than religious party. The Pharisees regarded them as untrue to theirreligion and country. But here we see them combining together against Christ as a common enemy.So on a subsequent occasion (Mt 22:15, 16).Jesus Retires to Avoid Danger (Mt 12:15-21).15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence—whither, our Evangelistsays not; but Mark (Mr 3:7) says "it was to the sea"—to some distance, no doubt, from the sceneof the miracle, the madness, and the plotting just recorded.and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all—Mark gives the followinginteresting details: "A great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and fromJerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a greatmultitude, when they had heard what great things He did, came unto Him. And He spake to Hisdisciples, that a small ship"—or "wherry"—"should wait on Him because of the multitude, lestthey should throng Him. For He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for totouch Him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down beforeHim, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And He straitly charged them that they shouldnot make Him known" (Mr 3:7-12). How glorious this extorted homage to the Son of God! But asthis was not the time, so neither were they the fitting preachers, as Bengel says. (See on Mr 1:25,and compare Jas 2:19). Coming back now to our Evangelist: after saying, "He healed them all," hecontinues:16. And charged them—the healed.that they should not make him known—(See on Mt 8:4).17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying—(Isa 42:1).18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: Iwill put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.19. He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he sendforth judgment unto victory—"unto truth," says the Hebrew original, and the Septuagint also.But our Evangelist merely seizes the spirit, instead of the letter of the prediction in this point. Thegrandeur and completeness of Messiah's victories would prove, it seems, not more wonderful thanthe unobtrusive noiselessness with which they were to be achieved. And whereas one rough touchwill break a bruised reed, and quench the flickering, smoking flax, His it should be, with matchlesstenderness, love, and skill, to lift up the meek, to strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feebleknees, to comfort all that mourn, to say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust—Part of His present audience were Gentiles—fromTyre and Sidon—first-fruits of the great Gentile harvest contemplated in the prophecy.Mt 12:22-37. A Blind and Dumb Demoniac Healed and Reply to the Malignant Explanation Put upon It. ( = Mr3:20-30; Lu 11:14-23).The precise time of this section is uncertain. Judging from the statements with which Markintroduces it, we should conclude that it was when our Lord's popularity was approaching its zenith,and so before the feeding of the five thousand. But, on the other hand, the advanced state of thecharges brought against our Lord, and the plainness of His warnings and denunciations in reply,seem to favor the later period at which Luke introduces it. "And the multitude," says Mark (Mr3:20, 21), "cometh together again," referring back to the immense gathering which Mark had before1916JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonrecorded (Mr 2:2)—"so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when His friends"—or rather,"relatives," as appears from Mt 12:31, and see on Mt 12:46—"heard of it, they went out to lay holdon Him; for they said, He is beside Himself." Compare 2Co 5:13, "For whether we be besideourselves, it is to God."22. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil—"a demonized person."blind and dumb, and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and the dumb both spake and saw.23. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?—The form ofthe interrogative requires this to be rendered, "Is this the Son of David?" And as questions put inthis form (in Greek) suppose doubt, and expect rather a negative answer, the meaning is, "Can itpossibly be?"—the people thus indicating their secret impression that this must be He; yet savingthemselves from the wrath of the ecclesiastics, which a direct assertion of it would have broughtupon them. (On a similar question, see on Joh 4:29; and on the phrase, "Son of David," see on Mt9:27).24. But when the Pharisees heard it—Mark (Mr 3:22) says, "the scribes which came downfrom Jerusalem"; so that this had been a hostile party of the ecclesiastics, who had come all theway from Jerusalem to collect materials for a charge against Him. (See on Mt 12:14).they said, This fellow—an expression of contempt.doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub—rather, "Beelzebul" (see on Mt 10:25).the prince of the devils—Two things are here implied—first, that the bitterest enemies of ourLord were unable to deny the reality of His miracles; and next, that they believed in an organizedinfernal kingdom of evil, under one chief. This belief would be of small consequence, had not ourLord set His seal to it; but this He immediately does. Stung by the unsophisticated testimony of"all the people," they had no way of holding out against His claims but by the desperate shift ofascribing His miracles to Satan.25. And Jesus knew their thoughts—"called them" (Mr 3:23).and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; andevery city or house divided against itself shall not stand—"house," that is, "household"26. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdomstand?—The argument here is irresistible. "No organized society can stand—whether kingdom,city, or household—when turned against itself; such intestine war is suicidal: But the works I doare destructive of Satan's kingdom: That I should be in league with Satan, therefore, is incredibleand absurd."27. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children—"your sons," meaninghere the "disciples" or pupils of the Pharisees, who were so termed after the familiar language ofthe Old Testament in speaking of the sons of the prophets (1Ki 20:35; 2Ki 2:3, &c.). Our Lord hereseems to admit that such works were wrought by them; in which case the Pharisees stoodself-condemned, as expressed in Luke (Lu 11:19), "Therefore shall they be your judges."28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God—In Luke (Lu 11:20) it is, "with (or 'by') thefinger of God." This latter expression is just a figurative way of representing the power of God,while the former tells us the living Personal Agent was made use of by the Lord Jesus in everyexercise of that power.then—"no doubt" (Lu 11:20).the kingdom of God is come unto you—rather "upon you," as the same expression is renderedin Luke (Lu 11:20):—that is, "If this expulsion of Satan is, and can be, by no other than the Spirit1917JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof God, then is his Destroyer already in the midst of you, and that kingdom which is destined tosupplant his is already rising on its ruins."29. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house—or rather, "the strong man's house."and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scatterethabroad—On this important parable, in connection with the corresponding one (Mt 12:43-45), seeon Lu 11:21-26.31. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven untomen—The word "blasphemy" properly signifies "detraction," or "slander." In the New Testamentit is applied, as it is here, to vituperation directed against God as well as against men; and in thissense it is to be understood as an aggravated form of sin. Well, says our Lord, all sin—whether inits ordinary or its more aggravated forms—shall find forgiveness with God. Accordingly, in Mark(Mr 3:28) the language is still stronger: "All sin shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, andblasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme." There is no sin whatever, it seems, of whichit may be said, "That is not a pardonable sin." This glorious assurance is not to be limited by whatfollows; but, on the contrary, what follows is to be explained by this.but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: butwhosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world,neither in the world to come—In Mark the language is awfully strong, "hath never forgiveness,but is in danger of eternal damnation" (Mr 3:20)—or rather, according to what appears to be thepreferable though very unusual reading, "in danger of eternal guilt"—a guilt which he will underliefor ever. Mark has the important addition (Mr 3:30), "Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."(See on Mt 10:25). What, then, is this sin against the Holy Ghost—the unpardonable sin? One thingis clear: Its unpardonableness cannot arise from anything in the nature of sin itself; for that wouldbe a naked contradiction to the emphatic declaration of Mt 12:31, that all manner of sin is pardonable.And what is this but the fundamental truth of the Gospel? (See Ac 13:38, 39; Ro 3:22, 24; 1Jo 1:7,&c.). Then, again when it is said (Mt 12:32), that to speak against or blaspheme the Son of man ispardonable, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is not pardonable, it is not to be conceivedthat this arises from any greater sanctity in the one blessed Person than the other. These remarksso narrow the question that the true sense of our Lord's words seem to disclose themselves at once.It is a contrast between slandering "the Son of man" in His veiled condition and unfinishedwork—which might be done "ignorantly, in unbelief" (1Ti 1:13), and slandering the same blessedPerson after the blaze of glory which the Holy Ghost was soon to throw around His claims, and inthe full knowledge of all that. This would be to slander Him with eyes open, or to do it"presumptuously." To blaspheme Christ in the former condition—when even the apostles stumbledat many things—left them still open to conviction on fuller light: but to blaspheme Him in the lattercondition would be to hate the light the clearer it became, and resolutely to shut it out; which, ofcourse, precludes salvation. (See on Heb 10:26-29). The Pharisees had not as yet done this; but incharging Jesus with being in league with hell they were displaying beforehand a malignantdetermination to shut their eyes to all evidence, and so, bordering upon, and in spirit committing,the unpardonable sin.33. Either make the tree good, &c.34. O generation of vipers—(See on Mt 3:7).1918JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhow can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouthspeaketh—a principle obvious enough, yet of deepest significance and vast application. In Lu 6:45we find it uttered as part of the discourse delivered after the choice of the apostles.35. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things—or,"putteth forth good things":and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things—or "putteth forth evilthings." The word "putteth" indicates the spontaneity of what comes from the heart; for it is out ofthe abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh. We have here a new application of a formersaying (see on Mt 7:16-20). Here, the sentiment is, "There are but two kingdoms, interests,parties—with the proper workings of each: If I promote the one, I cannot belong to the other; butthey that set themselves in wilful opposition to the kingdom of light openly proclaim to what otherkingdom they belong. As for you, in what ye have now uttered, ye have but revealed the venomousmalignity of your hearts."36. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give accountthereof in the day of judgment—They might say, "It was nothing: we meant no evil; we merelythrew out a supposition, as one way of accounting for the miracle we witnessed; if it will not stand,let it go; why make so much of it, and bear down with such severity for it?" Jesus replies, "It wasnot nothing, and at the great day will not be treated as nothing: Words, as the index of the heart,however idle they may seem, will be taken account of, whether good or bad, in estimating characterin the day of judgment."Mt 12:38-50. A Sign Demanded and the Reply—His Mother and Brethren Seek to Speak with Him, and theAnswer. ( = Lu 11:16, 24-36; Mr 3:31-35; Lu 8:19-21).A Sign Demanded, and the Reply (Mt 12:38-45).The occasion of this section was manifestly the same with that of the preceding.38. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master—"Teacher,"equivalent to "Rabbi."we would see a sign from thee—"a sign from heaven" (Lu 11:16); something of an immediateand decisive nature, to show, not that His miracles were real—that they seemed willing toconcede—but that they were from above, not from beneath. These were not the same class withthose who charged Him with being in league with Satan (as we see from Lu 11:15, 16); but as thespirit of both was similar, the tone of severe rebuke is continued.39. But he answered and said unto them—"when the people were gathered thick together"(Lu 11:29).an evil and adulterous generation—This latter expression is best explained by Jer 3:20,"Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously withMe, O house of Israel, saith the Lord." For this was the relationship in which He stood to thecovenant-people—"I am married unto you" (Jer 3:14).seeketh after a sign—In the eye of Jesus this class were but the spokesmen of their generation,the exponents of the reigning spirit of unbelief.and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.40. For as Jonas was—"a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to thisgeneration" (Lu 11:30). For as Jonas wasthree days and three nights in the whale's belly—(Jon 1:17).1919JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonso shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth—This wasthe second public announcement of His resurrection three days after His death. (For the first, seeJoh 2:19). Jonah's case was analogous to this, as being a signal judgment of God; reversed in threedays; and followed by a glorious mission to the Gentiles. The expression "in the heart of the earth,"suggested by the expression of Jonah with respect to the sea (2:3, in the Septuagint), means simplythe grave, but this considered as the most emphatic expression of real and total entombment. Theperiod during which He was to lie in the grave is here expressed in round numbers, according tothe Jewish way of speaking, which was to regard any part of a day, however small, included withina period of days, as a full day. (See 1Sa 30:12, 13; Es 4:16; 5:1; Mt 27:63, 64, &c.).41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, &c.—The Ninevites,though heathens, repented at a man's preaching; while they, God's covenant-people, repented notat the preaching of the Son of God—whose supreme dignity is rather implied here than expressed.42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, &c.—Thequeen of Sheba (a tract in Arabia, near the shores of the Red Sea) came from a remote country,"south" of Judea, to hear the wisdom of a mere man, though a gifted one, and was transported withwonder at what she saw and heard (1Ki 10:1-9). They, when a Greater than Solomon had come tothem, despised and rejected, slighted and slandered Him.43-45. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, &c.—On this important parable, inconnection with the corresponding one (Mt 12:29) see on Lu 11:21-26.A charming little incident, given only in Lu 11:27, 28, seems to have its proper place here.Lu 11:27:And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of thecompany—out of the crowd.lifted up her voice and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee,and the paps which Thou hast sucked—With true womanly feeling she envies themother of such a wonderful Teacher. And a higher and better than she had said asmuch before her (see on Lu 1:28). How does our Lord, then, treat it? He is far fromcondemning it. He only holds up as "blessed rather" another class: Lu 11:28:But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keepit—in other words, the humblest real saint of God. How utterly alien is this sentimentfrom the teaching of the Church of Rome, which would doubtless excommunicateany one of its members that dared to talk in such a strain!His Mother and Brethren Seek to Speak with Him and the Answer (Mt 12:46-50).46. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren—(See on Mt13:55, 56).stood without, desiring to speak with him—"and could not come at Him for the press" (Lu8:19). For what purpose these came, we learn from Mr 3:20, 21. In His zeal and ardor He seemedindifferent both to food and repose, and "they went to lay hold of Him" as one "beside Himself."Mark (Mr 3:32) says graphically, "And the multitude sat about Him"—or "around Him."47. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiringto speak with thee, &c.—Absorbed in the awful warnings He was pouring forth, He felt this to bean unseasonable interruption, fitted to dissipate the impression made upon the large audience—such1920JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonan interruption as duty to the nearest relatives did not require Him to give way to. But instead of adirect rebuke, He seizes on the incident to convey a sublime lesson, expressed in a style of inimitablecondescension.49. And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples—How graphic is this! It is thelanguage evidently of an eye-witness.and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!50. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother,and sister, and mother—that is, "There stand here the members of a family transcending andsurviving this of earth: Filial subjection to the will of My Father in heaven is the indissoluble bondof union between Me and all its members; and whosoever enters this hallowed circle becomes toMe brother, and sister, and mother!"

      CHAPTER 13Mt 13:1-52. Jesus Teaches by Parables. ( = Mr 4:1-34; Lu 8:4-18; 13:18-20).Introduction (Mt 13:1-3).1. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside.2. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship—thearticle in the received text lacks authorityand sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore—How graphic this picture!—no doubtfrom the pen of an eye-witness, himself impressed with the scene. It was "the same day" on whichthe foregoing solemn discourse was delivered, when His kindred thought Him "beside Himself"for His indifference to food and repose—that same day retiring to the seashore of Galilee; and thereseating Himself, perhaps for coolness and rest, the crowds again flock around Him, and He is fainto push off from them, in the boat usually kept in readiness for Him; yet only to begin, withoutwaiting to rest, a new course of teaching by parables to the eager multitudes that lined the shore.To the parables of our Lord there is nothing in all language to be compared, for simplicity, grace,fulness, and variety of spiritual teaching. They are adapted to all classes and stages of advancement,being understood by each according to the measure of his spiritual capacity.3. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, &c.—These parables are SEVENin number; and it is not a little remarkable that while this is the sacred number, the first FOUR ofthem were spoken to the mixed multitude, while the remaining THREE were spoken to the Twelvein private—these divisions, four and three, being themselves notable in the symbolical arithmeticof Scripture. Another thing remarkable in the structure of these parables is, that while the first ofthe Seven—that of the Sower—is of the nature of an Introduction to the whole, the remaining Sixconsist of three pairs—the Second and Seventh, the Third and Fourth, and the Fifth and Sixth,corresponding to each other; each pair setting forth the same general truths, but with a certaindiversity of aspect. All this can hardly be accidental.First Parable: The Sower (Mt 13:3-9, 18-23).This parable may be entitled, The Effect of the Word Dependent on the State of the Heart. For the expositionof this parable, see on Mr 4:1-9, 14-20.Reason for Teaching in Parables (Mt 13:10-17).1921JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10. And the disciples came, and said unto him—"they that were with Him, when they werealone" (Mr 4:10).Why speakest thou to them in parables?—Though before this He had couched some thingsin the parabolic form, for more vivid illustration, it would appear that He now, for the first time,formally employed this method of teaching.11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteriesof the kingdom of heaven—The word "mysteries" in Scripture is not used in its classical sense—ofreligious secrets, nor yet of things incomprehensible, or in their own nature difficult to beunderstood—but in the sense of things of purely divine revelation, and, usually, things darklyannounced under the ancient economy, and during all that period darkly understood, but fullypublished under the Gospel (1Co 2:6-10; Eph 3:3-6, 8, 9). "The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,"then, mean those glorious Gospel truths which at that time only the more advanced disciples couldappreciate, and they but partially.but to them it is not given—(See on Mt 11:25). Parables serve the double purpose of revealingand concealing; presenting "the mysteries of the kingdom" to those who know and relish them,though in never so small a degree, in a new and attractive light; but to those who are insensible tospiritual things yielding only, as so many tales, some temporary entertainment.12. For whosoever hath—that is, keeps; as a thing which he values.to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance—He will be rewarded by an increaseof what he so much prizes.but whosoever hath not—who lets this go or lie unused, as a thing on which he sets no value.from him shall be taken away even that he hath—or as it is in Luke (Lu 8:18), "what heseemeth to have," or, thinketh he hath. This is a principle of immense importance, and, like otherweighty sayings, appears to have been uttered by our Lord on more than one occasion, and indifferent connections. (See on Mt 25:9). As a great ethical principle, we see it in operationeverywhere, under the general law of habit; in virtue of which moral principles become strongerby exercise, while by disuse, or the exercise of their contraries, they wax weaker, and at lengthexpire. The same principle reigns in the intellectual world, and even in the animal—if not in thevegetable also—as the facts of physiology sufficiently prove. Here, however, it is viewed as adivine ordination, as a judicial retribution in continual operation under the divine administration.13. Therefore speak I to them in parables—which our Lord, be it observed, did not begin todo till His miracles were malignantly ascribed to Satan.because they seeing, see not—They "saw," for the light shone on them as never light shonebefore; but they "saw not," for they closed their eyes.and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand—They "heard," for He taught themwho "spake as never man spake"; but they "heard not," for they took nothing in, apprehending notthe soul-penetrating, life-giving words addressed to them. In Mark and Luke (Mr 4:12; Lu 8:10),what is here expressed as a human fact is represented as the fulfilment of a divine purpose—"thatseeing they may see, and not perceive," &c. The explanation of this lies in the statement of theforegoing verse—that, by a fixed law of the divine administration, the duty men voluntarily refuseto do, and in point of fact do not do, they at length become morally incapable of doing.14. And in them is fulfilled—rather, "is fulfilling," or "is receiving its fulfilment."the prophecy of Esaias, which saith—(Isa 6:9, 10—here quoted according to the Septuagint).1922JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonBy hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand, &c.—They were thus judicially sealedup under the darkness and obduracy which they deliberately preferred to the light and healing whichJesus brought nigh to them.16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your cars, for they hear—that is, "Happyye, whose eyes and ears, voluntarily and gladly opened, are drinking in the light divine."17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired—rather,"coveted."to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things whichye hear, and have not heard them—Not only were the disciples blessed above the blinded justspoken of, but favored above the most honored and the best that lived under the old economy, whohad but glimpses of the things of the new kingdom, just sufficient to kindle in them desires not tobe fulfilled to any in their day. In Lu 10:23, 24, where the same saying is repeated on the return ofthe Seventy—the words, instead of "many prophets and righteous men," are "many prophets andkings"; for several of the Old Testament saints were kings.Second and Seventh Parables or First Pair:The Wheat and the Tares, and The Good and Bad Fish (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50).The subject of both these parables—which teach the same truth, with a slight diversity ofaspect—is:The MIXED CHARACTER OF THE Kingdom in Its Present State, and the FINAL ABSOLUTESEPARATION OF THE Two Classes.The Tares and the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43).24, 36-38. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven islikened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field—Happily for us, these exquisite parablesare, with like charming simplicity and clearness, expounded to us by the Great Preacher Himself.Accordingly, we pass to: Mt 13:36-38. See on Mt 13:36; Mt 13:3825, 38, 39. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, andwent his way—(See on Mt 13:38, 39).26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the taresalso—the growth in both cases running parallel, as antagonistic principles are seen to do.27. So the servants of the householder came—that is, Christ's ministers.and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hathit tares?—This well expresses the surprise, disappointment, and anxiety of Christ's faithful servantsand people at the discovery of "false brethren" among the members of the Church.28. He said unto them, An enemy hath done this—Kind words these from a good Husbandman,honorably clearing His faithful servants of the wrong done to his field.The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?—Comparewith this the question of James and John (Lu 9:54), "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to comedown from heaven and consume" those Samaritans? In this kind of zeal there is usually a largemixture of carnal heat. (See Jas 1:20).29. But he said, Nay—"It will be done in due time, but not now, nor is it your business."lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them—Nothing could moreclearly or forcibly teach the difficulty of distinguishing the two classes, and the high probabilitythat in the attempt to do so these will be confounded.30, 39. Let both grow together—that is, in the visible Church.1923JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonuntil the harvest—till the one have ripened for full salvation, the other for destruction. (Seeon Mt 13:39).and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers—(See on Mt 13:39).Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them—"in the fire"(Mt 13:40).but gather the wheat into my barn—Christ, as the Judge, will separate the two classes (as inMt 25:32). It will be observed that the tares are burned before the wheat is housed; in the expositionof the parable (Mt 13:41, 43) the same order is observed: and the same in Mt 25:46—as if, in someliteral sense, "with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked" (Ps 91:8).Third and Fourth Parables or Second Pair:The Mustard Seed and The Leaven (Mt 13:31-33).The subject of both these parables, as of the first pair, is the same, but under a slight diversityof aspect, namely—The GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM FROM THE Smallest Beginnings to Ultimate Universality.The Mustard Seed (Mt 13:31, 32).31. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grainof mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field;32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds—not absolutely, but popularly and proverbially, asin Lu 17:6, "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed," that is, "never so little faith."but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs—not absolutely, but in relation to thesmall size of the seed, and in warm latitudes proverbially great.and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branchesthereof—This is added, no doubt, to express the amplitude of the tree. But as this seed has a hot,fiery vigor, gives out its best virtues when bruised, and is grateful to the taste of birds, which areaccordingly attracted to its branches both for shelter and food, is it straining the parable, asks Trench,to suppose that, besides the wonderful growth of His kingdom, our Lord selected this seed toillustrate further the shelter, repose and blessedness it is destined to afford to the nations of theworld?The Leaven (Mt 13:33).33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, whicha woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened—This parable,while it teaches the same general truth as the foregoing one, holds forth, perhaps, rather the inwardgrowth of the kingdom, while "the Mustard Seed" seems to point chiefly to the outward. It beinga woman's work to knead, it seems a refinement to say that "the woman" here represents the Church,as the instrument of depositing the leaven. Nor does it yield much satisfaction to understand the"three measures of meal" of that threefold division of our nature into "spirit, soul, and body," alludedto in 1Th 5:23, or of the threefold partition of the world among the three sons of Noah (Ge 10:32),as some do. It yields more real satisfaction to see in this brief parable just the all-penetrating andassimilating quality of the Gospel, by virtue of which it will yet mould all institutions and tribesof men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ."34. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parablespake he not unto them—that is, on this occasion; refraining not only from all naked discourse,but even from all interpretation of these parables to the mixed multitude.1924JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson35. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying—(Ps 78:2, nearlyas in the Septuagint).I will open my mouth in parables, &c.—Though the Psalm seems to contain only a summaryof Israelitish history, the Psalmist himself calls it "a parable," and "dark sayings from of old"—ascontaining, underneath the history, truths for all time, not fully brought to light till the Gospel day.36-38. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciplescame unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field, &c.—In the parableof the Sower, "the seed is the word of God" (Lu 8:11). But here that word has been received intothe heart, and has converted him that received it into a new creature, a "child of the kingdom,"according to that saying of James (Jas 1:18), "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth,that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures." It is worthy of notice that this vast fieldof the world is here said to be Christ's own—"His field," says the parable. (See Ps 2:8).38. The tares are the children of the wicked one—As this sowing could only be "while menslept," no blame seems intended, and certainly none is charged upon "the servants"; it is probablyjust the dress of the parable.39. The enemy that sowed them is the devil—emphatically "His enemy" (Mt 13:25). (SeeGe 3:15; 1Jo 3:8). By "tares" is meant, not what in our husbandry is so called, but some noxiousplant, probably darnel. "The tares are the children of the wicked one"; and by their being sown"among the wheat" is meant their being deposited within the territory of the visible Church. Asthey resemble the children of the kingdom, so they are produced, it seems, by a similar process of"sowing"—the seeds of evil being scattered and lodging in the soil of those hearts upon which fallsthe seed of the world. The enemy, after sowing his "tares," "went his way"—his dark work soondone, but taking time to develop its true character.The harvest is the end of the world—the period of Christ's second coming, and of the judicialseparation of the righteous and the wicked. Till then, no attempt is to be made to effect suchseparation. But to stretch this so far as to justify allowing openly scandalous persons to remain inthe communion of the Church, is to wrest the teaching of this parable to other than its proper design,and go in the teeth of apostolic injunctions (1Co 5:1-13).And the reapers are the angels—But whose angels are they? "The Son of man shall send forthHis angels" (Mt 13:41). Compare 1Pe 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand ofGod; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom—towhich they never really belonged. They usurped their place and name and outward privileges; but"the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners [abide] in the congregation of the righteous"(Ps 1:5).all things that offend—all those who have proved a stumbling-block to othersand them which do iniquity—The former class, as the worst, are mentioned first.42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire—rather, "the furnace of fire":there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth—What terrific strength of language—the "casting"or "flinging" expressive of indignation, abhorrence, contempt (compare Ps 9:17; Da 12:2): "thefurnace of fire" denoting the fierceness of the torment: the "wailing" signifying the anguish thiscauses; while the "gnashing of teeth" is a graphic way of expressing the despair in which itsremedilessness issues (see Mt 8:12)!1925JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father—as ifthey had been under a cloud during the present association with ungodly pretenders to their character,and claimants of their privileges, and obstructors of their course.Who hath ears to hear, let him hear—(See Mr 4:9).Fifth and Sixth Parables or Third Pair: The Hidden Treasure and The Pearl of Great Price (Mt 13:44-46).The subject of this last pair, as of the two former, is the same, but also under a slight diversityof aspect: namely—The Priceless Value of the Blessings of the Kingdom. And while the one parable represents the Kingdomas "found without seeking," the other holds forth the Kingdom as "sought and found."The Hidden Treasure (Mt 13:44).44. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field—no uncommon thingin unsettled and half-civilized countries, even now as well as in ancient times, when there was noother way of securing it from the rapacity of neighbors or marauders. (Jer 41:8; Job 3:21; Pr 2:4).the which when a man hath found—that is, unexpectedly found.he hideth, and for joy thereof—on perceiving what a treasure he had lighted on, surpassingthe worth of all he possessed.goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field—in which case, by Jewish law, thetreasure would become his own.The Pearl of Great Price (Mt 13:45, 46).45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls.46. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, andbought it—The one pearl of great price, instead of being found by accident, as in the former case,is found by one whose business it is to seek for such, and who finds it just in the way of searchingfor such treasures. But in both cases the surpassing value of the treasure is alike recognized, andin both all is parted with for it.The Good and Bad Fish (Mt 13:47-50).The object of this brief parable is the same as that of the Tares and Wheat. But as its details arefewer, so its teaching is less rich and varied.47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gatheredof every kind—The word here rendered "net" signifies a large drag-net, which draws everythingafter it, suffering nothing to escape, as distinguished from a casting-net (Mr 1:16, 18). Thefar-reaching efficacy of the Gospel is thus denoted. This Gospel net "gathered of every kind,"meaning every variety of character.48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore—for the separation will not be made till thenumber of the elect is accomplished.and sat down—expressing the deliberateness with which the judicial separation will at lengthbe made.and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away—literally, "the rotten," but heremeaning, "the foul" or "worthless" fish: corresponding to the "tares" of the other parable.49. So shall it be at the end of the world, &c.—(See on Mt 13:42). We have said that each ofthese two parables holds forth the same truth under a slight diversity of aspect. What is that diversity?First, the bad, in the former parable, are represented as vile seed sown among the wheat by theenemy of souls; in the latter, as foul fish drawn forth out of the great sea of human beings by theGospel net itself. Both are important truths—that the Gospel draws within its pale, and into the1926JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncommunion of the visible Church, multitudes who are Christians only in name; and that the injurythus done to the Church on earth is to be traced to the wicked one. But further, while the formerparable gives chief prominence to the present mixture of good and bad, in the latter, the prominenceis given to the future separation of the two classes.51. Jesus saith unto them—that is, to the Twelve. He had spoken the first four in the hearingof the mixed multitude: the last three He reserved till, on the dismissal of the mixed audience, Heand the Twelve were alone (Mt 13:36, &c.).Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.52. Then said he unto them, Therefore—or as we should say, "Well, then."every scribe—or Christian teacher: here so called from that well-known class among the Jews.(See Mt 23:34).which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven—himself taught in the mysteries of theGospel which he has to teach to others.is like unto a man that is an householder which bringeth forth—"turneth" or "dealeth out."out of his treasure—his store of divine truth.things new and old—old truths in ever new forms, aspects, applications, and with ever newillustrations.Mt 13:53-58. How Jesus Was Regarded by His Relatives. ( = Mr 6:1-6; Lu 4:16-30).53. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.54. And when he was come into his own country—that is, Nazareth; as is plain from Mr 6:1.See on Joh 4:43, where also the same phrase occurs. This, according to the majority of Harmonists,was the second of two visits which our Lord paid to Nazareth during His public ministry; but inour view it was His first and only visit to it. See on Mt 4:13; and for the reasons, see Lu 4:16-30.Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?—"these miracles." Thesesurely are not like the questions of people who had asked precisely the same questions before, whofrom astonishment had proceeded to rage, and in their rage had hurried Him out of the synagogue,and away to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, to thrust Him down headlong, andwho had been foiled even in that object by His passing through the midst of them, and going Hisway. But see on Lu 4:16, &c.55. Is not this the carpenter's son?—In Mark (Mr 6:3) the question is, "Is not this thecarpenter?" In all likelihood, our Lord, during His stay under the roof of His earthly parents, wroughtalong with His legal father.is not his mother called Mary?—"Do we not know all about His parentage? Has He not grownup in the midst of us? Are not all His relatives our own townsfolk? Whence, then, such wisdomand such miracles?" These particulars of our Lord's human history constitute the most valuabletestimony, first, to His true and real humanity—for they prove that during all His first thirty yearsHis townsmen had discovered nothing about Him different from other men; secondly, to the divinecharacter of His mission—for these Nazarenes proclaim both the unparalleled character of Histeaching and the reality and glory of His miracles, as transcending human ability; and thirdly, toHis wonderful humility and self-denial—in that when He was such as they now saw Him to be, Heyet never gave any indications of it for thirty years, because "His hour was not yet come."And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?An exceedingly difficult question here arises—What were these "brethren" and "sisters" to Jesus?1927JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonWere they, First, His full brothers and sisters? or, Secondly, Were they His step-brothers andstep-sisters, children of Joseph by a former marriage? or, Thirdly, Were they cousins, according toa common way of speaking among the Jews respecting persons of collateral descent? On this subjectan immense deal has been written, nor are opinions yet by any means agreed. For the second opinionthere is no ground but a vague tradition, arising probably from the wish for some such explanation.The first opinion undoubtedly suits the text best in all the places where the parties are certainlyreferred to (Mt 12:46; and its parallels, Mr 3:31; Lu 8:19; our present passage, and its parallels, Mr6:3; Joh 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Ac 1:14). But, in addition to other objections, many of the best interpreters,thinking it in the last degree improbable that our Lord, when hanging on the cross, would havecommitted His mother to John if He had had full brothers of His own then alive, prefer the thirdopinion; although, on the other hand, it is not to be doubted that our Lord might have good reasonsfor entrusting the guardianship of His doubly widowed mother to the beloved disciple in preferenceeven to full brothers of His own. Thus dubiously we prefer to leave this vexed question, encompassedas it is with difficulties. As to the names here mentioned, the first of them, "James," is afterwardscalled "the Lord's brother" (see on Ga 1:19), but is perhaps not to be confounded with "James theson of Alphæus," one of the Twelve, though many think their identity beyond dispute. This questionalso is one of considerable difficulty, and not without importance; since the James who occupiesso prominent a place in the Church of Jerusalem, in the latter part of the Acts, was apparently theapostle, but is by many regarded as "the Lord's brother," while others think their identity best suitsall the statements. The second of those here named, "Joses" (or Joseph), must not be confoundedwith "Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus" (Ac 1:23); and the third here named,"Simon," is not to be confounded with Simon the Kananite or Zealot (see on Mt 10:4). These threeare nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament. The fourth and last-named, "Judas," can hardlybe identical with the apostle of that name—though the brothers of both were of the name of"James"—nor (unless the two be identical, was this Judas) with the author of the catholic Epistleso called.58. And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief—"save that He laidHis hands on a few sick folk, and healed them" (Mr 6:5). See on Lu 4:16-30.CHAPTER 14Mt 14:1-12. Herod Thinks Jesus a Resurrection of the Murdered Baptist—Account of His Imprisonment and Death.( = Mr 6:14-29; Lu 9:7-9).The time of this alarm of Herod Antipas appears to have been during the mission of the Twelve,and shortly after the Baptist—who had been in prison for probably more than a year—had beencruelly put to death.Herod's Theory of the Works of Christ (Mt 14:1, 2).1. At that time Herod the tetrarch—Herod Antipas, one of the three sons of Herod the Great,and own brother of Archelaus (Mt 2:22), who ruled as ethnarch over Galilee and Perea.heard of the fame of Jesus—"for His name was spread abroad" (Mr 6:14).2. And said unto his servants—his counsellors or court-ministers.1928JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonThis is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead, &c.—The murdered prophet haunted hisguilty breast like a specter and seemed to him alive again and clothed with unearthly powers in theperson of Jesus.Account of the Baptist's Imprisonment and Death (Mt 14:3-12). For the exposition of thisportion, see on Mr 6:17-29.Mt 14:12-21. Hearing of the Baptist's Death, Jesus Crosses the Lake with Twelve, and Miraculously Feeds FiveThousand. ( = Mr 6:30-44; Lu 9:10-17; Joh 6:1-14).For the exposition of this section—one of the very few where all the four Evangelists runparallel—see on Mr 6:30-44.Mt 14:22-26. Jesus Crosses to the Western Side of the Lake Walking on the Sea—Incidents on Landing. ( = Mr6:45; Joh 6:15-24).For the exposition, see on Joh 6:15-24.28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it is thou, bid me come to thee on thewater—(Also see on Mr 6:50.)29. And he said, Come. And when Peter had come down out of the boat. he walked on thewater, to go to Jesus—(Also see on Mr 6:50.)30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried,saying, Lord, save me—(Also see on Mr 6:50.)31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said to him, Othou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?—(Also see on Mr 6:50.)32. And when they had come into the boat, the wind ceased—(Also see on Mr 6:50.)CHAPTER 15Mt 15:1-20. Discourse on Ceremonial Pollution. ( = Mr 7:1, 23).The time of this section was after that Passover which was nigh at hand when our Lord fed thefive thousand (Joh 6:4)—the third Passover, as we take it, since His public ministry began, butwhich He did not keep at Jerusalem for the reason mentioned in Joh 7:1.1. Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem—or "from Jerusalem."Mark (Mr 7:1) says they "came from" it: a deputation probably sent from the capital expressly towatch Him. As He had not come to them at the last Passover, which they had reckoned on, theynow come to Him. "And," says Mark (Mr 7:2, 3), "when they saw some of His disciples eat breadwith defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands"—hands not ceremonially cleansed bywashing—"they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their handsoft"—literally, "in" or "with the fist"; that is, probably washing the one hand by the use of theother—though some understand it, with our version, in the sense of "diligently," "sedulously"—"eatnot, holding the tradition of the elders"; acting religiously according to the custom handed downto them. "And when they come from the market" (Mr 7:4)—"And after market": after any commonbusiness, or attending a court of justice, where the Jews, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, after theirsubjection to the Romans, were especially exposed to intercourse and contact with heathens—"exceptthey wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as thewashing of cups and pots, brazen vessels and tables"—rather, "couches," such as were used at1929JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmeals, which probably were merely sprinkled for ceremonial purposes. "Then the Pharisees andscribes asked Him,"saying—as follows:2. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their handswhen they eat bread.3. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment ofGod by your tradition?—The charge is retorted with startling power: "The tradition they transgressis but man's, and is itself the occasion of heavy transgression, undermining the authority of God'slaw."4. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother—(De 5:16).and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death—(Ex 21:17).5. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift—or simply, "Agift!" In Mark (Mr 7:11), it is, "Corban!" that is, "An oblation!" meaning, any unbloody offeringor gift dedicated to sacred uses.by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;6. And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free—that is, It is true,father—mother—that by giving to thee this, which I now present, thou mightest be profited by me;but I have gifted it to pious uses, and therefore, at whatever cost to thee, I am not now at liberty toalienate any portion of it. "And," it is added in Mark (Mr 7:12), "ye suffer him no more to do aughtfor his father or his mother." To dedicate property to God is indeed lawful and laudable, but not atthe expense of filial duty.Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect—cancelled or nullified it "byyour tradition."7. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying—(Isa 29:13).8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, &c.—By putting the commandmentsof men on a level with the divine requirements, their whole worship was rendered vain—a principleof deep moment in the service of God. "For," it is added in Mr 7:8, "laying aside the commandmentof God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups; and many other such likethings ye do." The drivelling nature of their multitudinous observances is here pointedly exposed,in contrast with the manly observance of "the commandment of God"; and when our Lord says,"Many other such like things ye do," it is implied that He had but given a specimen of the hideoustreatment which the divine law received, and the grasping disposition which, under the mask ofpiety, was manifested by the ecclesiastics of that day.10. And he called the multitude, and said unto them—The foregoing dialogue, though inthe people's hearing, was between Jesus and the pharisaic cavillers, whose object was to disparageHim with the people. But Jesus, having put them down, turns to the multitude, who at this timewere prepared to drink in everything He said, and with admirable plainness, strength, and brevity,lays down the great principle of real pollution, by which a world of bondage and uneasiness ofconscience would be dissipated in a moment, and the sense of sin be reserved for deviations fromthe holy and eternal law of God.Hear and understand:11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of themouth, this defileth a man—This is expressed even more emphatically in Mark (Mr 7:15, 16),and it is there added, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." As in Mt 13:9, this so oft-repeated1930JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsaying seems designed to call attention to the fundamental and universal character of the truth itrefers to.12. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees wereoffended, after they heard this saying?—They had given vent to their irritation, and perhapsthreats, not to our Lord Himself, from whom they seem to have slunk away, but to some of thedisciples, who report it to their Master.13. But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted,shall be rooted up—They are offended, are they? Heed it not: their corrupt teaching is alreadydoomed: the garden of the Lord upon earth, too long cumbered with their presence, shall yet bepurged of them and their accursed system: yea, and whatsoever is not of the planting of My heavenlyFather, the great Husbandman (Joh 15:1), shall share the same fate.14. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, bothshall fall into the ditch—Striking expression of the ruinous effects of erroneous teaching!15. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable—"when He wasentered into the house from the people," says Mark (Mr 7:17).16. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?—Slowness of spiritualapprehension in His genuine disciples grieves the Saviour: from others He expects no better (Mt13:11).17, 18. Do not ye yet understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, &c.—Familiarthough these sayings have now become, what freedom from bondage to outward things do theyproclaim, on the one hand; and on the other, how searching is the truth which they express—thatnothing which enters from without can really defile us; and that only the evil that is in the heart,that is allowed to stir there, to rise up in thought and affection, and to flow forth in voluntary action,really defiles a man!19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts—"evil reasonings"; referring here moreimmediately to those corrupt reasonings which had stealthily introduced and gradually reared upthat hideous fabric of tradition which at length practically nullified the unchangeable principles ofthe moral law. But the statement is far broader than this; namely that the first shape which the evilthat is in the heart takes, when it begins actively to stir, is that of "considerations" or "reasonings"on certain suggested actions.murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies—detractions, whetherdirected against God or man; here the reference seems to be to the latter. Mark (Mr 7:22) adds,"covetousnesses"—or desires after more; "wickednesses"—here meaning, perhaps, malignities ofvarious forms; "deceit, lasciviousness"—meaning, excess or enormity of any kind, though by laterwriters restricted to lewdness; "an evil eye"—meaning, all looks or glances of envy, jealousy, orill will towards a neighbor; "pride, foolishness"—in the Old Testament sense of "folly"; that is,criminal senselessness, the folly of the heart. How appalling is this black catalogue!20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth nota man—Thus does our Lord sum up this whole searching discourse.Mt 15:21-28. The Woman of Canaan and Her Daughter.For the exposition, see on Mr 7:24-30.23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying,Send her away; for she crieth after us—(Also see on Mr 7:26.)1931JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house ofIsrael—(Also see on Mr 7:26.)25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me—(Also see on Mr 7:26.)Mt 15:29-39. Miracles of Healing—Four Thousand Miraculously Fed.For the exposition, see on Mr 7:31; Mr 8:10.CHAPTER 16Mt 16:1-12. A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—Caution against the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.For the exposition, see on Mr 8:11-21.Mt 16:13-28. Peter's Noble Confession of Christ and the Benediction Pronounced upon Him—Christ's First ExplicitAnnouncement of His Approaching Sufferings, Death, and Resurrection—His Rebuke of Peter and Warning to All theTwelve. ( = Mr 8:27; 9:1; Lu 9:18-27).The time of this section—which is beyond doubt, and will presently be mentioned—is ofimmense importance, and throws a touching interest around the incidents which it records.Peter's Confession, and the Benediction Pronounced upon Him. (Mt 16:13-20).13. When Jesus came into the coasts—"the parts," that is, the territory or region. In Mark (Mr8:27) it is "the towns" or "villages."of Cæsarea Philippi—It lay at the foot of Mount Lebanon, near the sources of the Jordan, inthe territory of Dan, and at the northeast extremity of Palestine. It was originally called Panium(from a cavern in its neighborhood dedicated to the god Pan) and Paneas. Philip, the tetrarch, theonly good son of Herod the Great, in whose dominions Paneas lay, having beautified and enlargedit, changed its name to Cæsarea, in honor of the Roman emperor, and added Philippi after his ownname, to distinguish it from the other Cæsarea (Ac 10:1) on the northeast coast of the MediterraneanSea. [Josephus, Antiquities, 15.10,3; 18.2,1]. This quiet and distant retreat Jesus appears to havesought with the view of talking over with the Twelve the fruit of His past labors, and breaking tothem for the first time the sad intelligence of His approaching death.he asked his disciples—"by the way," says Mark (Mr 8:27), and "as He was alone praying,"says Luke (Lu 9:18).saying, Whom—or more grammatically, "Who"do men say that I the Son of man am?—(or, "that the Son of man is"—the recent editorsomitting here the me of Mark and Luke [Mr 8:27; Lu 9:18]; though the evidence seems pretty nearlybalanced)—that is, "What are the views generally entertained of Me, the Son of man, after goingup and down among them so long?" He had now closed the first great stage of His ministry, andwas just entering on the last dark one. His spirit, burdened, sought relief in retirement, not onlyfrom the multitude, but even for a season from the Twelve. He retreated into "the secret place ofthe Most High," pouring out His soul "in supplications and prayers, with strong crying and tears"(Heb 5:7). On rejoining His disciples, and as they were pursuing their quiet journey, He asked themthis question.14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist—risen from the dead. So thatHerod Antipas was not singular in his surmise (Mt 14:1, 2).some, Elias—(Compare Mr 6:15).1932JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand others, Jeremias—Was this theory suggested by a supposed resemblance between the"Man of Sorrows" and "the weeping prophet?"or one of the prophets—or, as Luke (Lu 9:8) expresses it, "that one of the old prophets is risenagain." In another report of the popular opinions which Mark (Mr 6:15) gives us, it is thus expressed,"That it is a prophet [or], as one of the prophets": in other words, That He was a prophetical person,resembling those of old.15. He saith unto them, But whom—rather, "who."say ye that I am?—He had never put this question before, but the crisis He was reaching madeit fitting that He should now have it from them. We may suppose this to be one of those momentsof which the prophet says, in His name, "Then I said, I have labored in vain; I have spent my strengthfor naught, and in vain" (Isa 49:4): Lo, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree; andwhat is it? As the result of all, I am taken for John the Baptist, for Elias, for Jeremias, for one ofthe prophets. Yet some there are that have beheld My glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten ofthe Father, and I shall hear their voice, for it is sweet.16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God—Hedoes not say, "Scribes and Pharisees, rulers and people, are all perplexed; and shall we, unletteredfishermen, presume to decide?" But feeling the light of his Master's glory shining in his soul, hebreaks forth—not in a tame, prosaic acknowledgment, "I believe that Thou art," &c.—but in thelanguage of adoration—such as one uses in worship, "Thou Art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!" Hefirst owns Him the promised Messiah (see on Mt 1:16); then he rises higher, echoing the voicefrom heaven—"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"; and in the importantaddition—"Son of the Living God"—he recognizes the essential and eternal life of God as in this HisSon—though doubtless without that distinct perception afterwards vouchsafed.17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou—Though it is not to be doubtedthat Peter, in this noble testimony to Christ, only expressed the conviction of all the Twelve, yetsince he alone seems to have had clear enough apprehensions to put that conviction in proper andsuitable words, and courage enough to speak them out, and readiness enough to do this at the righttime—so he only, of all the Twelve, seems to have met the present want, and communicated to thesaddened soul of the Redeemer at the critical moment that balm which was needed to cheer andrefresh it. Nor is Jesus above giving indication of the deep satisfaction which this speech yieldedHim, and hastening to respond to it by a signal acknowledgment of Peter in return.Simon Bar-jona—or, "son of Jona" (Joh 1:42), or "Jonas" (Joh 21:15). This name, denotinghis humble fleshly extraction, seems to have been purposely here mentioned, to contrast the morevividly with the spiritual elevation to which divine illumination had raised him.for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee—"This is not the fruit of human teaching."but my Father which is in heaven—In speaking of God, Jesus, it is to be observed, never callsHim, "our Father" (see on Joh 20:17), but either "your Father"—when He would encourage Histimid believing ones with the assurance that He was theirs, and teach themselves to call Him so—or,as here, "My Father," to signify some peculiar action or aspect of Him as "the God and Father ofour Lord Jesus Christ."18. And I say also unto thee—that is, "As thou hast borne such testimony to Me, even so inreturn do I to thee."1933JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonThat thou art Peter—At his first calling, this new name was announced to him as an honorafterwards to be conferred on him (Joh 1:43). Now he gets it, with an explanation of what it wasmeant to convey.and upon this rock—As "Peter" and "Rock" are one word in the dialect familiarly spoken byour Lord—the Aramaic or Syro-Chaldaic, which was the mother tongue of the country—this exaltedplay upon the word can be fully seen only in languages which have one word for both. Even in theGreek it is imperfectly represented. In French, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, it is perfect,Pierre—pierre.I will build my Church—not on the man Simon Bar-jona; but on him as the heavenly-taughtconfessor of a faith. "My Church," says our Lord, calling the Church His Own; a magnificentexpression regarding Himself, remarks Bengel—nowhere else occurring in the Gospels.and the gates of hell—"of Hades," or, the unseen world; meaning, the gates of Death: in otherwords, "It shall never perish." Some explain it of "the assaults of the powers of darkness"; butthough that expresses a glorious truth, probably the former is the sense here.19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven—the kingdom of God aboutto be set up on earthand whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thoushalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven—Whatever this mean, it was soon expresslyextended to all the apostles (Mt 18:18); so that the claim of supreme authority in the Church, madefor Peter by the Church of Rome, and then arrogated to themselves by the popes as the legitimatesuccessors of St. Peter, is baseless and impudent. As first in confessing Christ, Peter got thiscommission before the rest; and with these "keys," on the day of Pentecost, he first "opened thedoor of faith" to the Jews, and then, in the person of Cornelius, he was honored to do the same tothe Gentiles. Hence, in the lists of the apostles, Peter is always first named. See on Mt 18:18. Onething is clear, that not in all the New Testament is there the vestige of any authority either claimedor exercised by Peter, or conceded to him, above the rest of the apostles—a thing conclusive againstthe Romish claims in behalf of that apostle.20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus theChrist—Now that He had been so explicit, they might naturally think the time come for giving itout openly; but here they are told it had not.Announcement of His Approaching Death and Rebuke of Peter (Mt 16:21-28).The occasion here is evidently the same.21. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples—that is, with an explicitnessand frequency He had never observed before.how that he must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things—"and be rejected," (Mr 8:31;Lu 9:22).of the elders and chief priests and scribes—not as before, merely by not receiving Him, butby formal deeds.and be killed, and be raised again the third day—Mark (Mr 8:32) adds, that "He spake thatsaying openly"—"explicitly," or "without disguise."22. Then Peter took him—aside, apart from the rest; presuming on the distinction just conferredon him; showing how unexpected and distasteful to them all was the announcement.and began to rebuke him—affectionately, yet with a certain generous indignation, to chideHim.1934JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsaying, Be it far from thee: this shall not be unto thee—that is, "If I can help it": the samespirit that prompted him in the garden to draw the sword in His behalf (Joh 18:10).23. But he turned, and said—in the hearing of the rest; for Mark (Mr 8:33) expressly says,"When He had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter"; perceiving that hehad but boldly uttered what others felt, and that the check was needed by them also.Get thee behind me, Satan—the same words as He had addressed to the Tempter (Lu 4:8);for He felt in it a satanic lure, a whisper from hell, to move Him from His purpose to suffer. So Heshook off the Serpent, then coiling around Him, and "felt no harm" (Ac 28:5). How quickly hasthe "rock" turned to a devil! The fruit of divine teaching the Lord delighted to honor in Peter; butthe mouthpiece of hell, which he had in a moment of forgetfulness become, the Lord shook offwith horror.thou art an offence—a stumbling-block.unto me—"Thou playest the Tempter, casting a stumbling-block in My way to the Cross. Couldit succeed, where wert thou? and how should the Serpent's head be bruised?"for thou savourest not—thou thinkest not.the things that be of God, but those that be of men—"Thou art carried away by human viewsof the way of setting up Messiah's kingdom, quite contrary to those of God." This was kindly said,not to take off the sharp edge of the rebuke, but to explain and justify it, as it was evident Peterknew not what was in the bosom of his rash speech.24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples—Mark (Mr 8:34) says, "When He had called the peopleunto Him, with His disciples also, He said unto them"—turning the rebuke of one into a warningto all.If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.25. For whosoever will save—is minded to save, or bent on saving.his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it—(See on Mt10:38,39). "A suffering and dying Messiah liketh you ill; but what if His servants shall meet thesame fate? They may not; but who follows Me must be prepared for the worst."26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul—orforfeit his own soul?or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?—Instead of these weighty words, whichwe find in Mr 8:36 also, it is thus expressed in Lu 9:25: "If he gain the whole world, and losehimself, or be cast away," or better, "If he gain the whole world, and destroy or forfeit himself."How awful is the stake as here set forth! If a man makes the present world—in its various formsof riches, honors, pleasures, and such like—the object of supreme pursuit, be it that he gains theworld; yet along with it he forfeits his own soul. Not that any ever did, or ever will gain the wholeworld—a very small portion of it, indeed, falls to the lot of the most successful of the world'svotaries—but to make the extravagant concession, that by giving himself entirely up to it, a mangains the whole world; yet, setting over against this gain the forfeiture of his soul—necessarilyfollowing the surrender of his whole heart to the world—what is he profited? But, if not the wholeworld, yet possibly something else may be conceived as an equivalent for the soul. Well, what isit?—"Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Thus, in language the weightiest, becausethe simplest, does our Lord shut up His hearers, and all who shall read these words to the end ofthe world, to the priceless value to every man of his own soul. In Mark and Luke (Mr 8:38; Lu9:26) the following words are added: "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My1935JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwords [shall be ashamed of belonging to Me, and ashamed of My Gospel] in this adulterous andsinful generation" (see on Mt 12:39), "of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when He comethin the glory of His Father, with the holy angels." He will render back to that man his own treatment,disowning him before the most august of all assemblies, and putting him to "shame and everlastingcontempt" (Da 12:2). "O shame," exclaims Bengel, "to be put to shame before God, Christ, andangels!" The sense of shame is founded on our love of reputation, which causes instinctive aversionto what is fitted to lower it, and was given us as a preservative from all that is properly shameful.To be lost to shame is to be nearly past hope. (Zep 3:5; Jer 6:15; 3:3). But when Christ and "Hiswords" are unpopular, the same instinctive desire to stand well with others begets that temptationto be ashamed of Him which only the expulsive power of a higher affection can effectuallycounteract.27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels—in the splendorof His Father's authority and with all His angelic ministers, ready to execute His pleasure.and then he shall reward, &c.28. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here—"some of those standing here."which shall not taste of death, fill they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom—or, asin Mark (Mr 9:1), "till they see the kingdom of God come with power"; or, as in Luke (Lu 9:27),more simply still, "till they see the kingdom of God." The reference, beyond doubt, is to the firmestablishment and victorious progress, in the lifetime of some then present, of that new kingdomof Christ, which was destined to work the greatest of all changes on this earth, and be the grandpledge of His final coming in glory.CHAPTER 17Mt 17:1-13. Jesus Is Transfigured—Conversation about Elias. ( = Mr 9:2-13; Lu 9:28-36).For the exposition, see on Lu 9:28-36.Mt 17:14-23. Healing of a Demoniac Boy—Second Explicit Announcement by Our Lord of His ApproachingDeath and Resurrection. ( = Mr 9:14-32; Lu 9:37-45).The time of this section is sufficiently denoted by the events which all the narratives show tohave immediately preceded it—the first explicit announcement of His death, and thetransfiguration—both being between His third and His fourth and last Passover.Healing of the Demoniac and Lunatic Boy (Mt 17:14-21).For the exposition of this portion, see on Mr 9:14-32.Second Announcement of His Death (Mt 17:22, 23).22. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them—Mark (Mr 9:30), as usual, isvery precise here: "And they departed thence"—that is, from the scene of the last miracle—"andpassed through Galilee; and He would not that any man should know it." So this was not a preaching,but a private, journey through Galilee. Indeed, His public ministry in Galilee was now all butconcluded. Though He sent out the Seventy after this to preach and heal, He Himself was littlemore in public there, and He was soon to bid it a final adieu. Till this hour arrived, He was chieflyoccupied with the Twelve, preparing them for the coming events.The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men … And they were exceedingsorry—Though the shock would not be so great as at the first announcement (Mt 16:21, 22), their1936JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson"sorrow" would not be the less, but probably the greater, the deeper the intelligence went downinto their hearts, and a new wave dashing upon them by this repetition of the heavy tidings.Accordingly, Luke (Lu 9:43, 44), connecting it with the scene of the miracle just recorded, and theteaching which arose out of it—or possibly with all His recent teaching—says our Lord forewarnedthe Twelve that they would soon stand in need of all that teaching: "But while they wondered everyone at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples, Let these sayings sink down into yourears; for the Son of man shall be delivered," &c.: "Be not carried off your feet by the grandeur youhave lately seen in Me, but remember what I have told you, and now tell you again, that that Sunin whose beams ye now rejoice is soon to set in midnight gloom." Remarkable is the antithesis inthose words of our Lord preserved in all the three narratives—"The son of man shall be betrayedinto the hands of men." Luke adds (Lu 9:45) that "they understood not this saying, and it was hidfrom them, that they perceived it not"—for the plainest statements, when they encounterlong-continued and obstinate prejudices, are seen through a distorting and dulling medium—"andwere afraid to ask Him"; deterred partly by the air of lofty sadness with which doubtless thesesayings were uttered, and on which they would be reluctant to break in, and partly by the fear oflaying themselves open to rebuke for their shallowness and timidity. How artless is all this!Mt 17:24-27. The Tribute Money.The time of this section is evidently in immediate succession to that of the preceding one. Thebrief but most pregnant incident which it records is given by Matthew alone—for whom, no doubt,it would have a peculiar interest, from its relation to his own town and his own familiar lake.24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money—the doubledrachma; a sum equal to two Attic drachmas, and corresponding to the Jewish "half-shekel," payable,towards the maintenance of the temple and its services, by every male Jew of twenty years old andupward. For the origin of this annual tax, see Ex 30:13, 14; 2Ch 24:6, 9. Thus, it will be observed,it was not a civil, but an ecclesiastical tax. The tax mentioned in Mt 17:25 was a civil one. Thewhole teaching of this very remarkable scene depends upon this distinction.came to Peter—at whose house Jesus probably resided while at Capernaum. This explainsseveral things in the narrative.and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?—The question seems to imply that the paymentof this tax was voluntary, but expected; or what, in modern phrase, would be called a "voluntaryassessment."25. He saith, yes—that is, "To be sure He does"; as if eager to remove even the suspicion ofthe contrary. If Peter knew—as surely he did—that there was at this time no money in the bag, thisreply must be regarded as a great act of faith in his Master.And when he was come into the house—Peter's.Jesus prevented him—anticipated him; according to the old sense of the word "prevent."saying, What thinkest thou, Simon?—using his family name for familiarity.of whom do the kings of the earth take custom—meaning custom on goods exported orimported.or tribute—meaning the poll-tax, payable to the Romans by everyone whose name was in thecensus. This, therefore, it will be observed, was strictly a civil tax.of their own children, or of strangers—This cannot mean "foreigners," from whom sovereignscertainly do not raise taxes, but those who are not of their own family, that is, their subjects.26. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers—"of those not their children."1937JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJesus saith unto him, Then are the children free—By "the children" our Lord cannot heremean Himself and the Twelve together, in some loose sense of their near relationship to God astheir common Father. For besides that our Lord never once mixes Himself up with His disciplesin speaking of their relation to God, but ever studiously keeps His relation and theirs apart (see, forexample, on the last words of this chapter)—this would be to teach the right of believers to exemptionfrom the dues required for sacred services, in the teeth of all that Paul teaches and that He Himselfindicates throughout. He can refer here, then, only to Himself; using the word "children" evidentlyin order to express the general principle observed by sovereigns, who do not draw taxes from theirown children, and thus convey the truth respecting His own exemption the more strikingly:—namely,"If the sovereign's own family be exempt, you know the inference in My case"; or to express itmore nakedly than Jesus thought needful and fitting: "This is a tax for upholding My Father's House.As His Son, then, that tax is not due by Me—I AM FREE."27. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend—stumble.them—all ignorant as they are of My relation to the Lord of the Temple, and should misconstruea claim to exemption into indifference to His honor who dwells in it.go thou to the sea—Capernaum, it will be remembered, lay on the Sea of Galilee.and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast openedhis mouth, thou shall find a piece of money—a stater. So it should have been rendered, and notindefinitely, as in our version, for the coin was an Attic silver coin equal to two of theafore-mentioned "didrachms" of half a shekel's value, and so, was the exact sum required for both.Accordingly, the Lord adds,that take, and give unto them for me and thee—literally, "instead of Me and thee"; perhapsbecause the payment was a redemption of the person paid for (Ex 30:12)—in which view Jesuscertainly was "free." If the house was Peter's, this will account for payment being provided on thisoccasion, not for all the Twelve, but only for him and His Lord. Observe, our Lord does not say"for us," but "for Me and thee"; thus distinguishing the Exempted One and His non-exempteddisciple.CHAPTER 18Mt 18:1-9. Strife among the Twelve Who Should Be Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, with Relative Teaching.( = Mr 9:33-50; Lu 9:46-50).For the exposition, see on Mr 9:33-50.Mt 18:10-35. Further Teaching on the Same Subject, Including the Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor.Same Subject (Mt 18:10-20).10. Take heed that ye despise—stumble.not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always beholdthe face of my Father which is in heaven—A difficult verse; but perhaps the following may bemore than an illustration:—Among men, those who nurse and rear the royal children, howeverhumble in themselves, are allowed free entrance with their charge, and a degree of familiarity whicheven the highest state ministers dare not assume. Probably our Lord means that, in virtue of theircharge over His disciples (Heb 1:13; Joh 1:51), the angels have errands to the throne, a welcome1938JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthere, and a dear familiarity in dealing with "His Father which is in heaven," which on their ownmatters they could not assume.11. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost—or "is lost." A golden saying,once and again repeated in different forms. Here the connection seems to be, "Since the wholeobject and errand of the Son of man into the world is to save the lost, take heed lest, by causingoffenses, ye lose the saved." That this is the idea intended we may gather from Mt 18:14.12, 13. How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray,&c.—This is another of those pregnant sayings which our Lord uttered more than once. See on thedelightful parable of the lost sheep in Lu 15:4-7. Only the object there is to show what the goodShepherd will do, when even one of His sheep is lost, to find it; here the object is to show, whenfound, how reluctant He is to lose it. Accordingly, it is added,14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little onesshould perish—How, then, can He but visit for those "offenses" which endanger the souls of theselittle ones?15. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault betweenthee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother, &c.—Probably ourLord had reference still to the late dispute, Who should be the greatest? After the rebuke—so gentleand captivating, yet so dignified and divine—under which they would doubtless be smarting,perhaps each would be saying, It was not I that began it, it was not I that threw out unworthy andirritating insinuations against my brethren. Be it so, says our Lord; but as such things will oftenarise, I will direct you how to proceed. First, Neither harbor a grudge against your offending brother,nor break forth upon him in presence of the unbelieving; but take him aside, show him his fault,and if he own and make reparation for it, you have done more service to him than even justice toyourself. Next, If this fail, take two or three to witness how just your complaint is, and how brotherlyyour spirit in dealing with him. Again, If this fail, bring him before the Church or congregation towhich both belong. Lastly, If even this fail, regard him as no longer a brother Christian, but as one"without"—as the Jews did Gentiles and publicans.18. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven—Here, what had been grantedbut a short time before to Peter only (see on Mt 16:19) is plainly extended to all the Twelve; sothat whatever it means, it means nothing peculiar to Peter, far less to his pretended successors atRome. It has to do with admission to and rejection from the membership of the Church. But see onJoh 20:23.19. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that theyshall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20. For where two or three are gathered together in my name—or "unto my name."there am I in the midst of them—On this passage—so full of sublime encouragement toChristian union in action and prayer—observe, first, the connection in which it stands. Our Lordhad been speaking of church meetings before which the obstinate perversity of a brother was in thelast resort to be brought, and whose decision was to be final—such honor does the Lord of theChurch put upon its lawful assemblies. But not these assemblies only does He deign to countenanceand honor. For even two uniting to bring any matter before Him shall find that they are not alone,for My Father is with them, says Jesus. Next, observe the premium here put upon union in prayer.As this cannot exist with fewer than two, so by letting it down so low as that number, He gives the1939JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonutmost conceivable encouragement to union in this exercise. But what kind of union? Not anagreement merely to pray in concert, but to pray for some definite thing. "As touching anythingwhich they shall ask," says our Lord—anything they shall agree to ask in concert. At the same time,it is plain He had certain things at that moment in His eye, as most fitting and needful subjects forsuch concerted prayer. The Twelve had been "falling out by the way" about the miserable questionof precedence in their Master's kingdom, and this, as it stirred their corruptions, had given rise—orat least was in danger of giving rise—to "offenses" perilous to their souls. The Lord Himself hadbeen directing them how to deal with one another about such matters. "But now shows He untothem a more excellent way." Let them bring all such matters—yea, and everything whatsoever bywhich either their own loving relationship to each other, or the good of His kingdom at large, mightbe affected—to their Father in heaven; and if they be but agreed in petitioning Him about that thing,it shall be done for them of His Father which is in heaven. But further, it is not merely union inprayer for the same thing—for that might be with very jarring ideas of the thing to be desired—butit is to symphonious prayer, the prayer by kindred spirits, members of one family, servants of oneLord, constrained by the same love, fighting under one banner, cheered by assurances of the samevictory; a living and loving union, whose voice in the divine ear is as the sound of many waters.Accordingly, what they ask "on earth" is done for them, says Jesus, "of My Father which is inheaven." Not for nothing does He say, "of My Father"—not "YOUR Father"; as is evident from whatfollows: "For where two or three are gathered together unto My name"—the "My" is emphatic,"there am I in the midst of them." As His name would prove a spell to draw together many clustersof His dear disciples, so if there should be but two or three, that will attract Himself down into themidst of them; and related as He is to both the parties, the petitioners and the Petitioned—to theone on earth by the tie of His assumed flesh, and to the other in heaven by the tie of His eternalSpirit—their symphonious prayers on earth would thrill upward through Him to heaven, be carriedby Him into the holiest of all, and so reach the Throne. Thus will He be the living Conductor ofthe prayer upward, and the answer downward.Parable of the Unmerciful Debtor (Mt 18:21-35).21. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, andI forgive him?—In the recent dispute, Peter had probably been an object of special envy, and hisforwardness in continually answering for all the rest would likely be cast up to him—and if so,probably by Judas—notwithstanding his Master's commendations. And as such insinuations wereperhaps made once and again, he wished to know how often and how long he was to stand it.till seven times?—This being the sacred and complete number, perhaps his meaning was, Isthere to be a limit at which the needful forbearance will be full?22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times; but, Until seventy timesseven—that is, so long as it shall be needed and sought: you are never to come to the point ofrefusing forgiveness sincerely asked. (See on Lu 17:3, 4).23. Therefore—"with reference to this matter."is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of hisservants—or, would scrutinize the accounts of his revenue collectors.24. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him tenthousand talents—If Attic talents are here meant, 10,000 of them would amount to above a millionand a half sterling; if Jewish talents, to a much larger sum.1940JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wifeand children, and all that he had, and payment to be made—(See 2Ki 4:1; Ne 5:8; Le 25:39).26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him—or did humble obeisance to him.saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all—This was just anacknowledgment of the justice of the claim made against him, and a piteous imploration of mercy.27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgavehim the debt—Payment being hopeless, the master is first moved with compassion; next, liberateshis debtor from prison; and then cancels the debt freely.28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants—Mark the differencehere. The first case is that of master and servant; in this case, both are on a footing of equality. (SeeMt 18:33, below.)which owed him an hundred pence—If Jewish money is intended, this debt was to the otherless than one to a million.and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat—he seized and throttled him.saying, Pay me that thou owest—Mark the mercilessness even of the tone.29. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patiencewith me, and I will pay thee all—The same attitude, and the same words which drew compassionfrom his master, are here employed towards himself by his fellow servant.30. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt,&c.—Jesus here vividly conveys the intolerable injustice and impudence which even the servantssaw in this act on the part of one so recently laid under the heaviest obligation to their commonmaster.32, 33. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant,&c.—Before bringing down his vengeance upon him, he calmly points out to him how shamefullyunreasonable and heartless his conduct was; which would give the punishment inflicted on him adouble sting.34. And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors—more than jailers;denoting the severity of the treatment which he thought such a case demanded.till he should pay all that was due unto him.35. So likewise—in this spirit, or on this principle.shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one hisbrother their trespasses.CHAPTER 19Mt 19:1-12. Final Departure from Galilee—Divorce. ( = Mr 10:1-12; Lu 9:51).Farewell to Galilee (Mt 19:1, 2).1. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed fromGalilee—This marks a very solemn period in our Lord's public ministry. So slightly is it touchedhere, and in the corresponding passage of Mark (Mr 10:1), that few readers probably note it as theRedeemer's Farewell to Galilee, which however it was. See on the sublime statement of Luke (Lu9:51), which relates to the same transition stage in the progress of our Lord's work.and came into the coasts—or, boundaries1941JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof Judea beyond Jordan—that is, to the further, or east side of the Jordan, into Perea, thedominions of Herod Antipas. But though one might conclude from our Evangelist that our Lordwent straight from the one region to the other, we know from the other Gospels that a considerabletime elapsed between the departure from the one and the arrival at the other, during which manyof the most important events in our Lord's public life occurred—probably a large part of what isrecorded in Lu 9:51, onward to Lu 18:15, and part of Joh 7:2-11:54.2. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there—Mark says further (Mr10:1), that "as He was wont, He taught them there." What we now have on the subject of divorceis some of that teaching.Divorce (Mt 19:3-12).3. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?—Two rival schools (as wesaw on Mt 5:31) were divided on this question—a delicate one, as De Wette pertinently remarks, inthe dominions of Herod Antipas.4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them atthe beginning made them male and female—or better, perhaps, "He that made them made themfrom the beginning a male and a female."5. And said, For this cause—to follow out this divine appointment.shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall beone flesh?—Jesus here sends them back to the original constitution of man as one pair, a male anda female; to their marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God, expressedby the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one woman should by marriage become oneflesh—so to continue as long as both are in the flesh. This being God's constitution, let not manbreak it up by causeless divorces.7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and toput her away?8. He saith unto them, Moses—as a civil lawgiver.because of—or "having respect to."the hardness of your hearts—looking to your low moral state, and your inability to endurethe strictness of the original law.suffered you to put away your wives—tolerated a relaxation of the strictness of the marriagebond—not as approving of it, but to prevent still greater evils.But from the beginning it was not so—This is repeated, in order to impress upon His audiencethe temporary and purely civil character of this Mosaic relaxation.9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except, &c.—See on Mt 5:32.10. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good tomarry—that is, "In this view of marriage, surely it must prove a snare rather than a blessing, andhad better be avoided altogether."11. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it isgiven—that is, "That the unmarried state is better, is a saying not for everyone, and indeed onlyfor such as it is divinely intended for." But who are these? they would naturally ask; and this ourLord proceeds to tell them in three particulars.12. For there are some eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb—personsconstitutionally either incapable of or indisposed to marriage.1942JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men—persons rendered incapableby others.and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven'ssake—persons who, to do God's work better, deliberately choose this state. Such was Paul (1Co7:7).He that is able to receive it, let him receive it—"He who feels this to be his proper vocation,let him embrace it"; which, of course, is as much as to say—"he only." Thus, all are left free in thismatter.Mt 19:13-15. Little Children Brought to Christ. ( = Mr 10:13-16; Lu 18:15-17).For the exposition, see on Lu 18:15-17.Mt 19:16-30. The Rich Young Ruler. ( = Mr 10:17-31; Lu 18:18-30).For the exposition, see on Lu 18:18-30.CHAPTER 20Mt 20:1-16. Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.This parable, recorded only by Matthew, is closely connected with the end of the nineteenthchapter, being spoken with reference to Peter's question as to how it should fare with those who,like himself, had left all for Christ. It is designed to show that while they would be richly rewarded,a certain equity would still be observed towards later converts and workmen in His service.1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, &c.—The figureof a vineyard, to represent the rearing of souls for heaven, the culture required and provided forthat purpose, and the care and pains which God takes in that whole matter, is familiar to everyreader of the Bible. (Ps 80:8-16; Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21; Lu 20:9-16; Joh 15:1-8). At vintage time, asWebster and Wilkinson remark, labor was scarce, and masters were obliged to be early in the marketto secure it. Perhaps the pressing nature of the work of the Gospel, and the comparative paucity oflaborers, may be incidentally suggested, Mt 9:37, 38. The "laborers," as in Mt 9:38, are first, theofficial servants of the Church, but after them and along with them all the servants of Christ, whomHe has laid under the weightiest obligation to work in His service.2. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny—a usual day's hire.he sent them into his vineyard.3. And he went out about the third hour—about nine o'clock, or after a fourth of the workingday had expired: the day of twelve hours was reckoned from six to six.and saw others standing idle in the market place—unemployed.4. And said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right—just, equitable,in proportion to their time.I will give you. And they went their way.5. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour—about noon, and about three o'clockin the afternoon.and did likewise—hiring and sending into his vineyard fresh laborers each time.6. And about the eleventh hour—but one hour before the close of the working day; a mostunusual hour both for offering and engaging1943JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand found others standing idle, and saith, Why stand ye here all the day idle?—Of coursethey had not been there, or not been disposed to offer themselves at the proper time; but as theywere now willing, and the day was not over, and "yet there was room," they also are engaged, andon similar terms with all the rest.8. So when even was come—that is, the reckoning time between masters and laborers (see De24:15); pointing to the day of final account.the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward—answering to Christ Himself, represented"as a Son over His own house" (Heb 3:6; see Mt 11:27; Joh 3:35; 5:27).Call the labourers and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto thefirst—Remarkable direction this—last hired, first paid.9. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every mana penny—a full day's wages.10. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more—This isthat calculating, mercenary spirit which had peeped out—though perhaps very slightly—in Peter'squestion (Mt 19:27), and which this parable was designed once for all to put down among theservants of Christ.11. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of thehouse—rather, "the householder," the word being the same as in Mt 20:1.12. Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal untous, which have borne the burden and heat—the burning heat.of the day—who have wrought not only longer but during a more trying period of the day.13. But he answered one of them—doubtless the spokesman of the complaining party.and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? &c.15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I amgood?—that is, "You appeal to justice, and by that your mouth is shut; for the sum you agreed foris paid you. Your case being disposed of, with the terms I make with other laborers you have nothingto do; and to grudge the benevolence shown to others, when by your own admission you have beenhonorably dealt with, is both unworthy envy of your neighbor, and discontent with the goodnessthat engaged and rewarded you in his service at all."16. So the last shall be first, and the first last—that is, "Take heed lest by indulging the spiritof these murmurers at the penny given to the last hired, ye miss your own penny, though first inthe vineyard; while the consciousness of having come in so late may inspire these last with such ahumble frame, and such admiration of the grace that has hired and rewarded them at all, as will putthem into the foremost place in the end."for many be called, but few chosen—This is another of our Lord's terse and pregnant sayings,more than once uttered in different connections. (See Mt 19:30; 22:14). The "calling" of which theNew Testament almost invariably speaks is what divines call effectual calling, carrying with it asupernatural operation on the will to secure its consent. But that cannot be the meaning of it here;the "called" being emphatically distinguished from the "chosen." It can only mean here the "invited."And so the sense is, Many receive the invitations of the Gospel whom God has never "chosen tosalvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2Th 2:13). But what, it maybe asked, has this to do with the subject of our parable? Probably this—to teach us that men whohave wrought in Christ's service all their days may, by the spirit which they manifest at the last,1944JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmake it too evident that, as between God and their own souls, they never were chosen workmen atall.Mt 20:17-28. Third Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Sufferings, Death, and Resurrection—TheAmbitious Request of James and John, and the Reply. ( = Mr 10:32-45; Lu 18:31-34).For the exposition, see on Mr 10:32-45.Mt 20:29-34. Two Blind Men Healed. ( = Mr 10:46-52; Lu 18:35-43).For the exposition, see on Lu 18:35-43.CHAPTER 21

      Mt 21:1-9. Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on the First Day of the Week. ( = Mr 11:1-11; Lu 19:29-40;Joh 12:12-19).For the exposition of this majestic scene—recorded, as will be seen, by all the Evangelists—seeon Lu 19:29-40.

      Mt 21:10-22. Stir about Him in the City—Second Cleansing of the Temple, and Miracles There—GloriousVindication of the Children's Testimony—The Barren Fig Tree Cursed, with Lessons from It. ( = Mr 11:11-26; Lu19:45-48).For the exposition, see on Lu 19:45-48; and Mr 11:12-26.Mt 21:23-46. The Authority of Jesus Questioned and the Reply—The Parables of the Two Sons, and of the WickedHusbandman. ( = Mr 11:27-12:12; Lu 20:1-19).Now commences, as Alford remarks, that series of parables and discourses of our Lord with Hisenemies, in which He develops, more completely than ever before, His hostility to their hypocrisyand iniquity: and so they are stirred up to compass His death.The Authority of Jesus Questioned, and the Reply (Mt 21:23-27).23. By what authority doest thou these things!—referring particularly to the expulsion of thebuyers and sellers from the temple,and who gave thee this authority?24. And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, &c.25. The baptism of John—meaning his whole mission and ministry, of which baptism wasthe proper character.whence was it? from heaven, or of men?—What wisdom there was in this way of meetingtheir question will best appear by their reply.If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?—"Whydid ye not believe the testimony which he bore to Me, as the promised and expected Messiah?" forthat was the burden of John's whole testimony.26. But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people—rather, "the multitude." In Luke (Lu20:6) it is, "all the people will stone us"—"stone us to death."for all hold John as a prophet—Crooked, cringing hypocrites! No wonder Jesus gave you noanswer.27. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell—Evidently their difficulty was, howto answer, so as neither to shake their determination to reject the claims of Christ nor damage theirreputation with the people. For the truth itself they cared nothing whatever.1945JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonNeither tell I you by what authority I do these things—What composure and dignity ofwisdom does our Lord here display, as He turns their question upon themselves, and, while revealingHis knowledge of their hypocrisy, closes their mouths! Taking advantage of the surprise, silence,and awe produced by this reply, our Lord followed it up immediately by the two following parables.Parable of the Two Sons (Mt 21:28-32).28. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first and said,Son, go work to-day in my vineyard—for true religion is a practical thing, a "bringing forth fruitunto God."29. He answered and said, I will not—Trench notices the rudeness of this answer, and the totalabsence of any attempt to excuse such disobedience, both characteristic; representing careless,reckless sinners resisting God to His face.30. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir—"I,sir." The emphatic "I," here, denotes the self-righteous complacency which says, "God, I thank theethat I am not as other men" (Lu 18:11).and went not—He did not "afterward repent" and refuse to go; for there was here no intentionto go. It is the class that "say and do not" (Mt 23:3)—a falseness more abominable to God, saysStier, than any "I will not."31. Whether of them twain did the will of his Father? They say unto him, The first—Nowcomes the application.Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go—or,"are going"; even now entering, while ye hold back.into the kingdom of God before you—The publicans and the harlots were the first son, who,when told to work in the Lord's vineyard, said, I will not; but afterwards repented and went. Theirearly life was a flat and flagrant refusal to do what they were commanded; it was one continuedrebellion against the authority of God. The chief priests and the elders of the people, with whomour Lord was now speaking, were the second son, who said, I go, sir, but went not. They were earlycalled, and all their life long professed obedience to God, but never rendered it; their life was oneof continued disobedience.32. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness—that is, calling you to repentance;as Noah is styled "a preacher of righteousness" (2Pe 2:5), when like the Baptist he warned the oldworld to "flee from the wrath to come."and ye believed him not—They did not reject him; nay, they "were willing for a season torejoice in his light" (Joh 5:35); but they would not receive his testimony to Jesus.but the publicans and the harlots believed him—Of the publicans this is twice expresslyrecorded, Lu 3:12; 7:29. Of the harlots, then, the same may be taken for granted, though the factis not expressly recorded. These outcasts gladly believed the testimony of John to the comingSaviour, and so hastened to Jesus when He came. See Lu 7:37; 15:1, &c.and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him—Insteadof being "provoked to jealousy" by their example, ye have seen them flocking to the Saviour andgetting to heaven, unmoved.Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Mt 21:33-46).33. Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard—(Seeon Lu 13:6).1946JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower—These detailsare taken, as is the basis of the parable itself, from that beautiful parable of Isa 5:1-7, in order tofix down the application and sustain it by Old Testament authority.and let it out to husbandmen—These are just the ordinary spiritual guides of the people, underwhose care and culture the fruits of righteousness are expected to spring up.and went into a far country—"for a long time" (Lu 20:9), leaving the vineyard to the laws ofthe spiritual husbandry during the whole time of the Jewish economy. On this phraseology, see onMr 4:26.34. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen—Bythese "servants" are meant the prophets and other extraordinary messengers, raised up from timeto time. See on Mt 23:37.that they might receive the fruits of it—Again see on Lu 13:6.35. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one—see Jer 37:15; 38:6.and killed another—see Jer 26:20-23.and stoned another—see 2Ch 24:21. Compare with this whole verse Mt 23:37, where ourLord reiterates these charges in the most melting strain.36. Again, he sent other servants more than the first; and they did unto them likewise—see2Ki 17:13; 2Ch 36:16, 18; Ne 9:26.37. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son—In Mark(Mr 12:6) this is most touchingly expressed: "Having yet therefore one son, His well-beloved, Hesent Him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence My Son." Luke's version of it too (Lu20:13) is striking: "Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send My belovedSon: it may be they will reverence Him when they see Him." Who does not see that our Lord heresevers Himself, by the sharpest line of demarcation, from all merely human messengers, and claimsfor Himself Sonship in its loftiest sense? (Compare Heb 3:3-6). The expression, "It may be theywill reverence My Son," is designed to teach the almost unimaginable guilt of not reverentiallywelcoming God's Son.38. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves—Compare Ge37:18-20; Joh 11:47-53.This is the heir—Sublime expression this of the great truth, that God's inheritance was destinedfor, and in due time is to come into the possession of, His own Son in our nature (Heb 1:2).come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance—that so, from mere servants, wemay become lords. This is the deep aim of the depraved heart; this is emphatically "the root of allevil."39. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard—compare Heb 13:11-13 ("withoutthe gate—without the camp"); 1Ki 21:13; Joh 19:17.and slew him.40. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh—This represents "the settling time,"which, in the case of the Jewish ecclesiastics, was that judicial trial of the nation and its leaderswhich issued in the destruction of their whole state.what will he do unto those husbandmen?41. They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men—an emphatic alliterationnot easily conveyed in English: "He will badly destroy those bad men," or "miserably destroy thosemiserable men," is something like it.1947JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruitsin their seasons—If this answer was given by the Pharisees, to whom our Lord addressed theparable, they thus unwittingly pronounced their own condemnation: as did David to Nathan theprophet (2Sa 12:5-7), and Simon the Pharisee to our Lord (Lu 7:43, &c.). But if it was given, asthe two other Evangelists agree in representing it, by our Lord Himself, and the explicitness of theanswer would seem to favor that supposition, then we can better explain the exclamation of thePharisees which followed it, in Luke's report (Lu 20:16)—"And when they heard it, they said, Godforbid"—His whole meaning now bursting upon them.42. Jesus saith unto them. Did ye never read in the scriptures—(Ps 118:22, 23).The stone which the builders rejected, &c.—A bright Messianic prophecy, which reappearsin various forms (Isa 28:16, &c.), and was made glorious use of by Peter before the Sanhedrim (Ac4:11). He recurs to it in his first epistle (1Pe 2:4-6).43. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God—God's visible Kingdom, or Church,upon earth, which up to this time stood in the seed of Abraham.shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof—that is,the great evangelical community of the faithful, which, after the extrusion of the Jewish nation,would consist chiefly of Gentiles, until "all Israel should be saved" (Ro 11:25, 26). This vastlyimportant statement is given by Matthew only.44. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall,it will grind him to powder—The Kingdom of God is here a Temple, in the erection of which acertain stone, rejected as unsuitable by the spiritual builders, is, by the great Lord of the House,made the keystone of the whole. On that Stone the builders were now "falling" and being "broken"(Isa 8:15). They were sustaining great spiritual hurt; but soon that Stone should "fall upon them"and "grind them to powder" (Da 2:34, 35; Zec 12:2)—in their corporate capacity, in the tremendousdestruction of Jerusalem, but personally, as unbelievers, in a more awful sense still.45. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables—referring to that ofthe Two Sons and this one of the Wicked Husbandmen.they perceived that he spake of them.46. But when they sought to lay hands on him—which Luke (Lu 20:19) says they did "thesame hour," hardly able to restrain their rage.they feared the multitude—rather, "the multitudes."because they took him for a prophet—just as they feared to say John's baptism was of men,because the masses took him for a prophet (Mt 21:26). Miserable creatures! So, for this time, "theyleft Him and went their way" (Mr 12:12).CHAPTER 22Mt 22:1-14. Parable of the Marriage of the King's Son.This is a different parable from that of the Great Supper, in Lu 14:15, &c., and is recorded byMatthew alone.2. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for hisson—"In this parable," as Trench admirably remarks, "we see how the Lord is revealing Himself inever clearer light as the central Person of the kingdom, giving here a far plainer hint than in the last1948JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonparable of the nobility of His descent. There He was indeed the Son, the only and beloved one (Mr12:6), of the Householder; but here His race is royal, and He appears as Himself at once the Kingand the King's Son (Ps 72:1). The last was a parable of the Old Testament history; and Christ israther the last and greatest of the line of its prophets and teachers than the founder of a new kingdom.In that, God appears demanding something from men; in this, a parable of grace, God appears moreas giving something to them. Thus, as often, the two complete each other: this taking up the matterwhere the other left it." The "marriage" of Jehovah to His people Israel was familiar to Jewish ears;and in Ps 45:1-17 this marriage is seen consummated in the Person of Messiah "THE King," Himselfaddressed as "God" and yet as anointed by "His God" with the oil of gladness above His fellows.These apparent contradictions (see on Lu 20:41-44) are resolved in this parable; and Jesus, inclaiming to be this King's Son, serves Himself Heir to all that the prophets and sweet singers ofIsrael held forth as to Jehovah's ineffably near and endearing union to His people. But observecarefully, that THE Bride does not come into view in this parable; its design being to teach certaintruths under the figure of guests at a wedding feast, and the want of a wedding garment, whichwould not have harmonized with the introduction of the Bride.3. and sent forth his servants—representing all preachers of the Gospel.to call them that were bidden—here meaning the Jews, who were "bidden," from the firstchoice of them onwards through every summons addressed to them by the prophets to holdthemselves in readiness for the appearing of their King.to the wedding—or the marriage festivities, when the preparations were all concluded.and they would not come—as the issue of the whole ministry of the Baptist, our Lord Himself,and His apostles thereafter, too sadly showed.4. my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto themarriage—This points to those Gospel calls after Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, andeffusion of the Spirit, to which the parable could not directly allude, but when only it could be said,with strict propriety, "that all things were ready." Compare 1Co 5:7, 8, "Christ our Passover issacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast"; also Joh 6:51, "I am the living bread which camedown from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread which I willgive is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:6. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully—insulted them.and slew them—These are two different classes of unbelievers: the one simply indifferent; theother absolutely hostile—the one, contemptuous scorners; the other, bitter persecutors.7. But when the king—the Great God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.heard thereof, he was wroth—at the affront put both on His Son, and on Himself who haddeigned to invite them.and he sent forth his armies—The Romans are here styled God's armies, just as the Assyrianis styled "the rod of His anger" (Isa 10:5), as being the executors of His judicial vengeance.and destroyed those murderers—and in what vast numbers did they do it!and burned up their city—Ah! Jerusalem, once "the city of the Great King" (Ps 48:2), andeven up almost to this time (Mt 5:35); but now it is "their city"—just as our Lord, a day or twoafter this, said of the temple, where God had so long dwelt, "Behold your house is left unto youdesolate" (Mt 23:38)! Compare Lu 19:43, 44.1949JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson8. The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy—for how shouldthose be deemed worthy to sit down at His table who had affronted Him by their treatment of Hisgracious invitation?9. Go ye therefore into the highways—the great outlets and thoroughfares, whether of townor country, where human beings are to be found.and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage—that is, just as they are.10. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many asthey found, both bad and good—that is, without making any distinction between open sinnersand the morally correct. The Gospel call fetched in Jews, Samaritans, and outlying heathen alike.Thus far the parable answers to that of "the Great Supper" (Lu 14:16, &c.). But the distinguishingfeature of our parable is what follows:11. And when the king came in to see the guests—Solemn expression this, of that omniscientinspection of every professed disciple of the Lord Jesus from age to age, in virtue of which his truecharacter will hereafter be judicially proclaimed!he saw there a man—This shows that it is the judgment of individuals which is intended inthis latter part of the parable: the first part represents rather national judgment.which had not on a wedding garment—The language here is drawn from the followingremarkable passage in Zep 1:7, 8:—"Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the dayof the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests. And it shallcome to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children,and all such as are clothed with strange apparel." The custom in the East of presenting festivalgarments (see Ge 45:22; 2Ki 5:22), even though nor clearly proved, Is certainly presupposed here.It undoubtedly means something which they bring not of their own—for how could they have anysuch dress who were gathered in from the highways indiscriminately?—but which they receive astheir appropriate dress. And what can that be but what is meant by "putting on the Lord Jesus," as"The Lord Our Righteousness?" (See Ps 45:13, 14). Nor could such language be strange to those in whoseears had so long resounded those words of prophetic joy: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, mysoul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hathcovered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, andas a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isa 61:10).12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he wasspeechless—being self-condemned.13. Then said the king to the servants—the angelic ministers of divine vengeance (as in Mt13:41).Bind him hand and foot—putting it out of his power to resist.and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness—So Mt 8:12; 25:30. The expressionis emphatic—"the darkness which is outside." To be "outside" at all—or, in the language of Re22:15, to be "without" the heavenly city, excluded from its joyous nuptials and gladsomefestivities—is sad enough of itself, without anything else. But to find themselves not only excludedfrom the brightness and glory and joy and felicity of the kingdom above, but thrust into a regionof "darkness," with all its horrors, this is the dismal retribution here announced, that awaits theunworthy at the great day.there—in that region and condition.shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See on Mt 13:42.1950JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. For many are called, but few are chosen—So Mt 19:30. See on Mt 20:16.Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies.( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).For the exposition, see on Mr 12:13-34.Mt 22:41-46. Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David and Messiah. ( = Mr 12:35-37; Lu20:41-44).For the exposition, see on Mr 12:35-37.CHAPTER 23Mt 23:1-39. Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees—Lamentation over Jerusalem, and Farewell to the Temple.( = Mr 12:38-40; Lu 20:45-47).For this long and terrible discourse we are indebted, with the exception of a few verses in Markand Luke, to Matthew alone. But as it is only an extended repetition of denunciations uttered notlong before at the table of a Pharisee, and recorded by Luke (Lu 11:37-54), we may take bothtogether in the exposition.Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:1-36).The first twelve verses were addressed more immediately to the disciples, the rest to the scribesand Pharisees.1. Then spake Jesus to the multitude—to the multitudes, "and to his disciples."2. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit—The Jewish teachers stood to read, but sat toexpound the Scriptures, as will be seen by comparing Lu 4:16 with Lu 4:20.in Moses' seat—that is, as interpreters of the law given by Moses.3. All therefore—that is, all which, as sitting in that seat and teaching out of that law.they bid you observe, that observe and do—The word "therefore" is thus, it will be seen, ofgreat importance, as limiting those injunctions which He would have them obey to what they fetchedfrom the law itself. In requiring implicit obedience to such injunctions, He would have them torecognize the authority with which they taught over and above the obligations of the law itself—animportant principle truly; but He who denounced the traditions of such teachers (Mt 15:3) cannothave meant here to throw His shield over these. It is remarked by Webster and Wilkinson that thewarning to beware of the scribes is given by Mark and Luke (Mr 12:38; Lu 20:46) without anyqualification: the charge to respect and obey them being reported by Matthew alone, indicating forwhom this Gospel was especially written, and the writer's desire to conciliate the Jews.4. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders;but they themselves will not move them—"touch them not" (Lu 11:46).with one of their fingers—referring not so much to the irksomeness of the legal rites, thoughthey were irksome enough (Ac 15:10), as to the heartless rigor with which they were enforced, andby men of shameless inconsistency.5. But all their works they do for to be seen of men—Whatever good they do, or zeal theyshow, has but one motive—human applause.they make broad their phylacteries—strips of parchment with Scripture-texts on them, wornon the forehead, arm, and side, in time of prayer.and enlarge the borders of their garments—fringes of their upper garments (Nu 15:37-40).1951JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson6. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts—The word "room" is now obsolete in the sensehere intended. It should be "the uppermost place," that is, the place of highest honor.and the chief seats in the synagogues. See on Lu 14:7, 8.7. And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi—It is the spiritrather than the letter of this that must be pressed; though the violation of the letter, springing fromspiritual pride, has done incalculable evil in the Church of Christ. The reiteration of the word"Rabbi" shows how it tickled the ear and fed the spiritual pride of those ecclesiastics.8. But be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your Master—your Guide, your Teacher.9. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven,&c.—To construe these injunctions into a condemnation of every title by which Church rulers maybe distinguished from the flock which they rule, is virtually to condemn that rule itself; andaccordingly the same persons do both—but against the whole strain of the New Testament andsound Christian judgment. But when we have guarded ourselves against these extremes, let us seeto it that we retain the full spirit of this warning against that itch for ecclesiastical superiority whichhas been the bane and the scandal of Christ's ministers in every age. (On the use of the word "Christ"here, see on Mt 1:1).11. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant—This plainly means, "shallshow that he is so by becoming your servant"; as in Mt 20:27, compared with Mr 10:44.12. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased—See on Lu 18:14. What follows wasaddressed more immediately to the scribes and Pharisees.13. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom ofheaven against men—Here they are charged with shutting heaven against men: in Lu 11:52 theyare charged with what was worse, taking away the key—"the key of knowledge"—which means,not the key to open knowledge, but knowledge as the only key to open heaven. A right knowledgeof God's revealed word is eternal life, as our Lord says (Joh 17:3; 5:39); but this they took awayfrom the people, substituting for it their wretched traditions.14. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses,&c.—Taking advantage of the helpless condition and confiding character of "widows," they contrivedto obtain possession of their property, while by their "long prayers" they made them believe theywere raised far above "filthy lucre." So much "the greater damnation" awaits them. What a lifelikedescription of the Romish clergy, the true successors of those scribes!15. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to makeone proselyte—from heathenism. We have evidence of this in Josephus.and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell thanyourselves—condemned, for the hypocrisy he would learn to practice, both by the religion he leftand that he embraced.16. Woe unto you, ye blind guides—Striking expression this of the ruinous effects of erroneousteaching. Our Lord, here and in some following verses, condemns the subtle distinctions they madeas to the sanctity of oaths—distinctions invented only to promote their own avaricious purposes.which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing—He has incurred no debt.but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple—meaning not the gold that adornedthe temple itself, but the Corban, set apart for sacred uses (see on Mt 15:5).he is a debtor!—that is, it is no longer his own, even though the necessities of the parent mightrequire it. We know who the successors of these men are.1952JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbut whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty—It should have been rendered,"he is a debtor," as in Mt 23:16.19. Ye fools, and blind! for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth thegift?—(See Ex 29:37).20-22. Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, &c.—See on Mt 5:33-37.23. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint andanise—rather, "dill," as in Margin.and cummin—In Luke (Lu 11:42) it is "and rue, and all manner of herbs." They grounded thispractice on Le 27:30, which they interpreted rigidly. Our Lord purposely names the most triflingproducts of the earth as examples of what they punctiliously exacted the tenth of.and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith—In Luke(Lu 11:42) it is "judgment, mercy, and the love of God"—the expression being probably varied byour Lord Himself on the two different occasions. In both His reference is to Mic 6:6-8, where theprophet makes all acceptable religion to consist of three elements—"doing justly, loving mercy,and walking humbly with our God"; which third element presupposes and comprehends both the"faith" of Matthew and the "love" of Luke. See on Mr 12:29; Mr 12:32, 33. The same tendency tomerge greater duties in less besets even the children of God; but it is the characteristic of hypocrites.these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone—There is no need for oneset of duties to jostle out another; but it is to be carefully noted that of the greater duties our Lordsays, "Ye ought to have done" them, while of the lesser He merely says, "Ye ought not to leavethem undone."24. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat—The proper rendering—as in the older Englishtranslations, and perhaps our own as it came from the translators' hands—evidently is, "strain out."It was the custom, says Trench, of the stricter Jews to strain their wine, vinegar, and other potablesthrough linen or gauze, lest unawares they should drink down some little unclean insect thereinand thus transgress (Le 11:20, 23, 41, 42)—just as the Buddhists do now in Ceylon andHindustan—and to this custom of theirs our Lord here refers.and swallow a camel—the largest animal the Jews knew, as the "gnat" was the smallest; bothwere by the law unclean.25. within they are full of extortion—In Luke (Lu 11:39) the same word is rendered "ravening,"that is, "rapacity."26. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that theoutside of them may be clean also—In Luke (Lu 11:40) it is, "Ye fools, did not He that made thatwhich is without make that which is within also?"—"He to whom belongs the outer life, and ofright demands its subjection to Himself, is the inner man less His?" A remarkable example this ofour Lord's power of drawing the most striking illustrations of great truths from the most familiarobjects and incidents in life. To these words, recorded by Luke, He adds the following, involvinga principle of immense value: "But rather give alms of such things as ye have, and behold, all thingsare clean unto you" (Lu 11:41). As the greed of these hypocrites was one of the most prominentfeatures of their character (Lu 16:14), our Lord bids them exemplify the opposite character, andthen their outside, ruled by this, would be beautiful in the eye of God, and their meals would beeaten with clean hands, though much fouled with the business of this everyday world. (See Ec 9:7).27. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like whited sepulchres—or,whitewashed sepulchres. (Compare Ac 23:3). The process of whitewashing the sepulchres, as1953JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLightfoot says, was performed on a certain day every year, not for ceremonial cleansing, but, as thefollowing words seem rather to imply, to beautify them.which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and ofall uncleanness—What a powerful way of conveying the charge, that with all their fair show theirhearts were full of corruption! (Compare Ps 5:9; Ro 3:13). But our Lord, stripping off the figure,next holds up their iniquity in naked colors.Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killedthe prophets—that is, "ye be witnesses that ye have inherited, and voluntarily served yourselvesheirs to, the truth-hating, prophet-killing, spirit of your fathers." Out of pretended respect and honor,they repaired and beautified the sepulchres of the prophets, and with whining hypocrisy said, "Ifwe had been in their days, how differently should we have treated these prophets?" While all thetime they were witnesses to themselves that they were the children of them that killed the prophets,convicting themselves daily of as exact a resemblance in spirit and character to the very classesover whose deeds they pretended to mourn, as child to parent. In Lu 11:44 our Lord gives anotherturn to this figure of a grave: "Ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over themare not aware of them." As one might unconsciously walk over a grave concealed from view, andthus contract ceremonial defilement, so the plausible exterior of the Pharisees kept people fromperceiving the pollution they contracted from coming in contact with such corrupt characters.33. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?—Inthus, at the end of His ministry, recalling the words of the Baptist at the outset of his, our Lordwould seem to intimate that the only difference between their condemnation now and then was,that now they were ripe for their doom, which they were not then.34. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes—The I hereis emphatic: "I am sending," that is, "am about to send." In Lu 11:49 the variation is remarkable:"Therefore also, said the wisdom of God, I will send them," &c. What precisely is meant by "thewisdom of God" here, is somewhat difficult to determine. To us it appears to be simply anannouncement of a purpose of the Divine Wisdom, in the high style of ancient prophecy, to senda last set of messengers whom the people would reject, and rejecting, would fill up the cup of theiriniquity. But, whereas in Luke it is "I, the Wisdom of God, will send them," in Matthew it is "I,Jesus, am sending them"; language only befitting the one sender of all the prophets, the Lord Godof Israel now in the flesh. They are evidently evangelical messengers, but called by the familiarJewish names of "prophets, wise men, and scribes," whose counterparts were the inspired and giftedservants of the Lord Jesus; for in Luke (Lu 11:49) it is "prophets and apostles."unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and thealtar—As there is no record of any fresh murder answering to this description, probably the allusionis not to any recent murder, but to 2Ch 24:20-22, as the last recorded and most suitable case forillustration. And as Zacharias' last words were, "The Lord require it," so they are here warned thatof that generation it should be required.36. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation—As it was onlyin the last generation of them that "the iniquity of the Amorites was full" (Ge 15:16), and then theabominations of ages were at once completely and awfully avenged, so the iniquity of Israel wasallowed to accumulate from age to age till in that generation it came to the full, and the wholecollected vengeance of heaven broke at once over its devoted head. In the first French Revolutionthe same awful principle was exemplified, and Christendom has not done with it yet.1954JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLamentation over Jerusalem, and Farewell to the Temple (Mt 23:37-39).37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which aresent unto thee, &c.—How ineffably grand and melting is this apostrophe! It is the very heart ofGod pouring itself forth through human flesh and speech. It is this incarnation of the innermost lifeand love of Deity, pleading with men, bleeding for them, and ascending only to open His arms tothem and win them back by the power of this story of matchless love, that has conquered the world,that will yet "draw all men unto Him," and beautify and ennoble Humanity itself! "Jerusalem" heredoes not mean the mere city or its inhabitants; nor is it to be viewed merely as the metropolis ofthe nation, but as the center of their religious life—"the city of their solemnities, whither the tribeswent up, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord"; and at this moment it was full of them. It isthe whole family of God, then, which is here apostrophized by a name dear to every Jew, recallingto him all that was distinctive and precious in his religion. The intense feeling that sought vent inthis utterance comes out first in the redoubling of the opening word—"Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" but,next, in the picture of it which He draws—"that killest the prophets, and stonest them which aresent unto thee!"—not content with spurning God's messages of mercy, that canst not suffer eventhe messengers to live! When He adds, "How often would I have gathered thee!" He refers surelyto something beyond the six or seven times that He visited and taught in Jerusalem while on earth.No doubt it points to "the prophets," whom they "killed," to "them that were sent unto her," whomthey "stoned." But whom would He have gathered so often? "Thee," truth-hating, mercy-spurning,prophet-killing Jerusalem—how often would I have gathered thee! Compare with this that affectingclause in the great ministerial commission, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preachedin His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem!" (Lu 24:47). What encouragement to theheartbroken at their own long-continued and obstinate rebellion! But we have not yet got at thewhole heart of this outburst. I would have gathered thee, He says, "even as a hen gathereth herchickens under her wings." Was ever imagery so homely invested with such grace and such sublimityas this, at our Lord's touch? And yet how exquisite the figure itself—of protection, rest, warmth,and all manner of conscious well-being in those poor, defenseless, dependent little creatures, asthey creep under and feel themselves overshadowed by the capacious and kindly wing of the motherbird! If, wandering beyond hearing of her peculiar call, they are overtaken by a storm or attackedby an enemy, what can they do but in the one case droop and die, and in the other submit to be tornin pieces? But if they can reach in time their place of safety, under the mother's wing, in vain willany enemy try to drag them thence. For rising into strength, kindling into fury, and forgetting herselfentirely in her young, she will let the last drop of her blood be shed out and perish in defense ofher precious charge, rather than yield them to an enemy's talons. How significant all this of whatJesus is and does for men! Under His great Mediatorial wing would He have "gathered" Israel. Forthe figure, see De 32:10-12; Ru 2:12; Ps 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4; Isa 31:5; Mal 4:2. The ancientrabbins had a beautiful expression for proselytes from the heathen—that they had "come under thewings of the Shekinah." For this last word, see on Mt 23:38. But what was the result of all thistender and mighty love? The answer is, "And ye would not." O mysterious word! mysterious theresistance of such patient Love—mysterious the liberty of self-undoing! The awful dignity of thewill, as here expressed, might make the ears to tingle.38. Behold, your house—the temple, beyond all doubt; but their house now, not the Lord's.See on Mt 22:7.1955JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonis left unto you desolate—deserted, that is, of its Divine Inhabitant. But who is that? Hear thenext words:39. For I say unto you—and these were His last words to the impenitent nation, see on Mr13:1, opening remarks.Ye shall not see me henceforth—What? Does Jesus mean that He was Himself the Lord ofthe temple, and that it became "deserted" when He finally left it? It is even so. Now is thy fatesealed, O Jerusalem, for the glory is departed from thee! That glory, once visible in the holy ofholies, over the mercy seat, when on the day of atonement the blood of typical expiation wassprinkled on it and in front of it—called by the Jews the Shekinah, or the Dwelling, as being thevisible pavilion of Jehovah—that glory, which Isaiah (Isa 6:1-13) saw in vision, the beloved disciplesays was the glory of Christ (Joh 12:41). Though it was never visible in the second temple, Haggaiforetold that "the glory of that latter house should be greater than of the former" (Hag 2:9) because"the Lord whom they sought was suddenly to come to His temple" (Mal 3:1), not in a mere brightcloud, but enshrined in living humanity! Yet brief as well as "sudden" was the manifestation to be:for the words He was now uttering were to be His very last within its precincts.till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord—that is, till those"Hosannas to the Son of David" with which the multitude had welcomed Him into the city—insteadof "sore displeasing the chief priests and scribes" (Mt 21:15)—should break forth from the wholenation, as their glad acclaim to their once pierced, but now acknowledged, Messiah. That such atime will come is clear from Zec 12:10; Ro 11:26; 2Co 3:15, 16, &c. In what sense they shall then"see Him" may be gathered from Zec 2:10-13; Eze 37:23-28; 39:28, 29, &c.CHAPTER 24Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for HisSecond Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).For the exposition, see on Mr 13:1-37.CHAPTER 25Mt 25:1-13. Parable of the Ten Virgins.This and the following parable are in Matthew alone.1. Then—at the time referred to at the close of the preceding chapter, the time of the Lord'sSecond Coming to reward His faithful servants and take vengeance on the faithless. Thenshall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and wentforth to meet the bridegroom—This supplies a key to the parable, whose object is, in the main,the same as that of the last parable—to illustrate the vigilant and expectant attitude of faith, inrespect of which believers are described as "they that look for Him" (Heb 9:28), and "love Hisappearing" (2Ti 4:8). In the last parable it was that of servants waiting for their absent Lord; in thisit is that of virgin attendants on a Bride, whose duty it was to go forth at night with lamps, and beready on the appearance of the Bridegroom to conduct the Bride to his house, and go in with himto the marriage. This entire and beautiful change of figure brings out the lesson of the former parablein quite a new light. But let it be observed that, just as in the parable of the Marriage Supper (Lu1956JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14:15-24), so in this—the Bride does not come into view at all in this parable; the Virgins and theBridegroom holding forth all the intended instruction: nor could believers be represented both asBride and Bridal Attendants without incongruity.2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish—They are not distinguished into goodand bad, as Trench observes, but into "wise" and "foolish"—just as in Mt 7:25-27 those who rearedtheir house for eternity are distinguished into "wise" and "foolish builders"; because in both casesa certain degree of goodwill towards the truth is assumed. To make anything of the equal numberof both classes would, we think, be precarious, save to warn us how large a portion of those who,up to the last, so nearly resemble those that love Christ's appearing will be disowned by Him whenHe comes.3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps—What are these "lamps" and this"oil"? Many answers have been given. But since the foolish as well as the wise took their lampsand went forth with them to meet the Bridegroom, these lighted lamps and this advance a certainway in company with the wise, must denote that Christian profession which is common to all whobear the Christian name; while the insufficiency of this without something else, of which they neverpossessed themselves, shows that "the foolish" mean those who, with all that is common to themwith real Christians, lack the essential preparation for meeting Christ. Then, since the wisdom of"the wise" consisted in their taking with their lamps a supply of oil in their vessels, keeping theirlamps burning till the Bridegroom came, and so fitting them to go in with Him to the marriage, thissupply of oil must mean that inward reality of grace which alone will stand when He appears whoseeyes are as a flame of fire. But this is too general; for it cannot be for nothing that this inward graceis here set forth by the familiar symbol of oil, by which the Spirit of all grace is so constantlyrepresented in Scripture. Beyond all doubt, this was what was symbolized by that precious anointingoil with which Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priestly office (Ex 30:23-25, 30); by"the oil of gladness above His fellows" with which Messiah was to be anointed (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9),even as it is expressly said, that "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (Joh 3:34); andby the bowl full of golden oil, in Zechariah's vision, which, receiving its supplies from the twoolive trees on either side of it, poured it through seven golden pipes into the golden lamp-stand tokeep it continually burning bright (Zec 4:1-14)—for the prophet is expressly told that it was toproclaim the great truth, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts [shallthis temple be built]. Who art thou, O great mountain [of opposition to this issue]? Before Zerubbabelthou shalt become a plain [or, be swept out of the way], and he shall bring forth the head stone [ofthe temple], with shoutings [crying], Grace, Grace unto it." This supply of oil, then, representing thatinward grace which distinguishes the wise, must denote, more particularly, that "supply of the Spiritof Jesus Christ," which, as it is the source of the new spiritual life at the first, is the secret of itsenduring character. Everything short of this may be possessed by "the foolish"; while it is thepossession of this that makes "the wise" to be "ready" when the Bridegroom appears, and fit to "goin with Him to the marriage." Just so in the parable of the Sower, the stony-ground hearers, "havingno deepness of earth" and "no root in themselves" Mt 13:5; Mr 4:17), though they spring up andget even into ear, never ripen, while they in the good ground bear the precious grain.5. While the bridegroom tarried—So in Mt 24:48, "My Lord delayeth His coming"; and soPeter says sublimely of the ascended Saviour, "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of1957JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonrestitution of all things" (Ac 3:21, and compare Lu 19:11, 12). Christ "tarries," among other reasons,to try the faith and patience of His people.they all slumbered and slept—the wise as well as the foolish. The world "slumbered" signifies,simply, "nodded," or, "became drowsy"; while the world "slept" is the usual word for lying downto sleep, denoting two stages of spiritual declension—first, that half-involuntary lethargy ordrowsiness which is apt to steal over one who falls into inactivity; and then a conscious, deliberateyielding to it, after a little vain resistance. Such was the state alike of the wise and the foolishvirgins, even till the cry of the Bridegroom's approach awoke them. So likewise in the parable ofthe Importunate Widow: "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Lu18:8).6. And at midnight—that is, the time when the Bridegroom will be least expected; for "theday of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1Th 5:2).there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him—that is, Beready to welcome Him.7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps—the foolish virgins as well as thewise. How very long do both parties seem the same—almost to the moment of decision! Lookingat the mere form of the parable, it is evident that the folly of "the foolish" consisted not in havingno oil at all; for they must have had oil enough in their lamps to keep them burning up to thismoment: their folly consisted in not making provision against its exhaustion, by taking with theirlamp an oil-vessel wherewith to replenish their lamp from time to time, and so have it burning untilthe Bridegroom should come. Are we, then—with some even superior expositors—to concludethat the foolish virgins must represent true Christians as well as do the wise, since only true Christianshave the Spirit, and that the difference between the two classes consists only in the one having thenecessary watchfulness which the other wants? Certainly not. Since the parable was designed tohold forth the prepared and the unprepared to meet Christ at His coming, and how the unpreparedmight, up to the very last, be confounded with the prepared—the structure of the parable behoovedto accommodate itself to this, by making the lamps of the foolish to burn, as well as those of thewise, up to a certain point of time, and only then to discover their inability to burn on for want ofa fresh supply of oil. But this is evidently just a structural device; and the real difference betweenthe two classes who profess to love the Lord's appearing is a radical one—the possession by theone class of an enduring principle of spiritual life, and the want of it by the other.8. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out—rather,as in the Margin, "are going out"; for oil will not light an extinguished lamp, though it will keep aburning one from going out. Ah! now at length they have discovered not only their own folly, butthe wisdom of the other class, and they do homage to it. They did not perhaps despise them before,but they thought them righteous overmuch; now they are forced, with bitter mortification, to wishthey were like them.9. But the wise answered, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you—The words "Notso," it will be seen, are not in the original, where the reply is very elliptical—"In case there be notenough for us and you." A truly wise answer this. "And what, then, if we shall share it with you?Why, both will be undone."but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves—Here again it would be strainingthe parable beyond its legitimate design to make it teach that men may get salvation even after theyare supposed and required to have it already gotten. It is merely a friendly way of reminding them1958JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof the proper way of obtaining the needed and precious article, with a certain reflection on themfor having it now to seek. Also, when the parable speaks of "selling" and "buying" that valuablearticle, it means simply, "Go, get it in the only legitimate way." And yet the word "buy" is significant;for we are elsewhere bidden, "buy wine and milk without money and without price," and "buy ofChrist gold tried in the fire," &c. (Isa 55:1; Re 3:18). Now, since what we pay the demanded pricefor becomes thereby our own property, the salvation which we thus take gratuitously at God'shands, being bought in His own sense of that word, becomes ours thereby in inalienable possession.(Compare for the language, Pr 23:23; Mt 13:44).10. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went inwith him to the marriage: and the door was shut—They are sensible of their past folly; theyhave taken good advice: they are in the act of getting what alone they lacked: a very little more,and they also are ready. But the Bridegroom comes; the ready are admitted; "the door is shut," andthey are undone. How graphic and appalling this picture of one almost saved—but lost!11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us—In Mt 7:22 thisreiteration of the name was an exclamation rather of surprise; here it is a piteous cry of urgency,bordering on despair. Ah! now at length their eyes are wide open, and they realize all theconsequences of their past folly.12. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not—The attempt toestablish a difference between "I know you not" here, and "I never knew you" in Mt 7:23—as ifthis were gentler, and so implied a milder fate, reserved for "the foolish" of this parable—is to beresisted, though advocated by such critics as Olshausen, Stier, and Alford. Besides being inconsistentwith the general tenor of such language, and particularly the solemn moral of the whole (Mt 25:13),it is a kind of criticism which tampers with some of the most awful warnings regarding the future.If it be asked why unworthy guests were admitted to the marriage of the King's Son, in a formerparable, and the foolish virgins are excluded in this one, we may answer, in the admirable wordsof Gerhard, quoted by Trench, that those festivities are celebrated in this life, in the Church militant;these at the last day, in the Church triumphant; to those, even they are admitted who are not adornedwith the wedding garment; but to these, only they to whom it is granted to be arrayed in fine linenclean and white, which is the righteousness of saints (Re 19:8); to those, men are called by thetrumpet of the Gospel; to these by the trumpet of the Archangel; to those, who enters may go outfrom them, or be cast out; who is once introduced to these never goes out, nor is cast out, fromthem any more: wherefore it is said, "The door is shut."13. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of mancometh—This, the moral or practical lesson of the whole parable, needs no comment.Mt 25:14-30. Parable of the Talents.This parable, while closely resembling it, is yet a different one from that of The Pounds, in Lu19:11-27; though Calvin, Olshausen, Meyer, and others identify them—but not De Wette and Neander. Forthe difference between the two parables, see the opening remarks on that of The Pounds. While,as Trench observes with his usual felicity, "the virgins were represented as waiting for their Lord,we have the servants working for Him; there the inward spiritual life of the faithful was described;here his external activity. It is not, therefore, without good reason that they appear in their actualorder—that of the Virgins first, and of the Talents following—since it is the sole condition of aprofitable outward activity for the kingdom of God, that the life of God be diligently maintainedwithin the heart."1959JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man—The ellipsis is better supplied by our translatorsin the corresponding passage of Mark (Mr 13:34), "[For the Son of man is] as a man," &c.,travelling into a far country—or more simply, "going abroad." The idea of long "tarrying" iscertainly implied here, since it is expressed in Mt 25:19.who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods—Between master andslaves this was not uncommon in ancient times. Christ's "servants" here mean all who, by theirChristian profession, stand in the relation to Him of entire subjection. His "goods" mean all theirgifts and endowments, whether original or acquired, natural or spiritual. As all that slaves havebelongs to their master, so Christ has a claim to everything which belongs to His people, everythingwhich, may be turned to good, and He demands its appropriation to His service, or, viewing itotherwise, they first offer it up to Him; as being "not their own, but bought with a price" (1Co 6:19,20), and He "delivers it to them" again to be put to use in His service.15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one—While theproportion of gifts is different in each, the same fidelity is required of all, and equally rewarded.And thus there is perfect equity.to every man according to his several ability—his natural capacity as enlisted in Christ'sservice, and his opportunities in providence for employing the gifts bestowed on him.and straightway took his journey—Compare Mt 21:33, where the same departure is ascribedto God, after setting up the ancient economy. In both cases, it denotes the leaving of men to theaction of all those spiritual laws and influences of Heaven under which they have been graciouslyplaced for their own salvation and the advancement of their Lord's kingdom.16. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same—expressiveof the activity which he put forth and the labor he bestowed.and made them other five talents.17. And likewise he that had received two he also gained other two—each doubling whathe received, and therefore both equally faithful.18. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord'smoney—not misspending, but simply making no use of it. Nay, his action seems that of one anxiousthat the gift should not be misused or lost, but ready to be returned, just as he got it.19. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them—Thatany one—within the lifetime of the apostles at least—with such words before them, should thinkthat Jesus had given any reason to expect His Second Appearing within that period, would seemstrange, did we not know the tendency of enthusiastic, ill-regulated love of His appearing ever totake this turn.20. Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained besides them fivetalents more—How beautifully does this illustrate what the beloved disciple says of "boldness inthe day of judgment," and his desire that "when He shall appear we may have confidence, and notbe ashamed before Him at His coming!" (1Jo 4:17; 2:28).21. His lord said unto him, Well done—a single word, not of bare satisfaction, but of warmand delighted commendation. And from what Lips!thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, &c.22. He also that had received two talents came … good and faithful servant: thou hastbeen faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things—Both are commendedin the same terms, and the reward of both is precisely the same. (See on Mt 25:15). Observe also1960JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe contrasts: "Thou hast been faithful as a servant; now be a ruler—thou hast been entrusted witha few things; now have dominion over many things."enter thou into the joy of thy lord—thy Lord's own joy. (See Joh 15:11; Heb 12:2).24. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thouart an hard man—harsh. The word in Luke (Lu 19:21) is "austere."reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed—The senseis obvious: "I knew thou wast one whom it was impossible to serve, one whom nothing wouldplease: exacting what was impracticable, and dissatisfied with what was attainable." Thus do mensecretly think of God as a hard Master, and virtually throw on Him the blame of their fruitlessness.25. And I was afraid—of making matters worse by meddling with it at all.and went and hid thy talent in the earth—This depicts the conduct of all those who shut uptheir gifts from the active service of Christ, without actually prostituting them to unworthy uses.Fitly, therefore, may it, at least, comprehend those, to whom Trench refers, who, in the early Church,pleaded that they had enough to do with their own souls, and were afraid of losing them in tryingto save others; and so, instead of being the salt of the earth, thought rather of keeping their ownsaltness by withdrawing sometimes into caves and wildernesses, from all those active ministriesof love by which they might have served their brethren.Thou wicked and slothful servant—"Wicked" or "bad" means "falsehearted," as opposed tothe others, who are emphatically styled "good servants." The addition of "slothful" is to mark theprecise nature of his wickedness: it consisted, it seems, not in his doing anything against, but simplynothing for his master.Thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed—Hetakes the servant's own account of his demands, as expressing graphically enough, not the hardnesswhich he had basely imputed to him, but simply his demand of a profitable return for the giftentrusted.27. thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers—the bankers.and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury—interest.29. For unto every one that hath shall be given, &c.—See on Mt 13:12.30. And cast ye—cast ye out.the unprofitable servant—the useless servant, that does his Master no service.into outer darkness—the darkness which is outside. On this expression see on Mt 22:13.there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth—See on Mt 13:42.Mt 25:31-46. The Last Judgment.The close connection between this sublime scene—peculiar to Matthew—and the two precedingparables is too obvious to need pointing out.31. When the Son of man shall come in his glory—His personal glory.and all the holy angels with him—See De 33:2; Da 7:9, 10; Jude 14; with Heb 1:6; 1Pe 3:22.then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory—the glory of His judicial authority.32. And before him shall be gathered all nations—or, "all the nations." That this should beunderstood to mean the heathen nations, or all except believers in Christ, will seem amazing to anysimple reader. Yet this is the exposition of Olshausen, Stier, Keil, Alford (though latterly with somediffidence), and of a number, though not all, of those who hold that Christ will come the secondtime before the millennium, and that the saints will be caught up to meet Him in the air before Hisappearing. Their chief argument is, the impossibility of any that ever knew the Lord Jesus wondering,1961JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonat the Judgment Day, that they should be thought to have done—or left undone—anything "untoChrist." To that we shall advert when we come to it. But here we may just say, that if this scenedoes not describe a personal, public, final judgment on men, according to the treatment they havegiven to Christ—and consequently men within the Christian pale—we shall have to consider againwhether our Lord's teaching on the greatest themes of human interest does indeed possess thatincomparable simplicity and transparency of meaning which, by universal consent, has been ascribedto it. If it be said, But how can this be the general judgment, if only those within the Christian palebe embraced by it?—we answer, What is here described, as it certainly does not meet the case ofall the family of Adam, is of course so far not general. But we have no right to conclude that thewhole "judgment of the great day" will be limited to the point of view here presented. Otherexplanations will come up in the course of our exposition.and he shall separate them—now for the first time; the two classes having been mingled allalong up to this awful moment.as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats—(See Eze 34:17).33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand—the side of honor (1Ki 2:19; Ps 45:9; 110:1,&c.).but the goats on the left—the side consequently of dishonor.34. Then shall the King—Magnificent title, here for the first and only time, save in parabolicallanguage, given to Himself by the Lord Jesus, and that on the eve of His deepest humiliation! It isto intimate that in then addressing the heirs of the kingdom, He will put on all His regal majesty.say unto them on his right hand, Come—the same sweet word with which He had so longinvited all the weary and heavy laden to come unto Him for rest. Now it is addressed exclusivelyto such as have come and found rest. It is still, "Come," and to "rest" too; but to rest in a higherstyle, and in another region.ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of theworld—The whole story of this their blessedness is given by the apostle, in words which seem butan expression of these: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessedus with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He hath chosen us in Himbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love."They were chosen from everlasting to the possession and enjoyment of all spiritual blessings inChrist, and so chosen in order to be holy and blameless in love. This is the holy love whose practicalmanifestations the King is about to recount in detail; and thus we see that their whole life of loveto Christ is the fruit of an eternal purpose of love to them in Christ.35. For I was an hungered … thirsty … a stranger, &c.36. Naked … sick … prison, and ye came unto me.37-39. Then shall the righteous answer him, &c.40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, &c.—Astonishingdialogue this between the King, from the Throne of His glory, and His wondering people! "I wasan hungered, and ye gave Me meat," &c.—"Not we," they reply. "We never did that, Lord: Wewere born out of due time, and enjoyed not the privilege of ministering unto Thee." "But ye did itto these My brethren, now beside you, when cast upon your love." "Truth, Lord, but was that doingit to Thee? Thy name was indeed dear to us, and we thought it a great honor to suffer shame for it.When among the destitute and distressed we discerned any of the household of faith, we will notdeny that our hearts leapt within us at the discovery, and when their knock came to our dwelling,1962JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson'our bowels were moved,' as though 'our Beloved Himself had put in His hand by the hole of thedoor.' Sweet was the fellowship we had with them, as if we had 'entertained angels unawares'; alldifference between giver and receiver somehow melted away under the beams of that love of Thinewhich knit us together; nay, rather, as they left us with gratitude for our poor givings, we seemedthe debtors—not they. But, Lord, were we all that time in company with Thee? … Yes, that scenewas all with Me," replies the King—"Me in the disguise of My poor ones. The door shut againstMe by others was opened by you—'Ye took Me in.' Apprehended and imprisoned by the enemiesof the truth, ye whom the truth had made free sought Me out diligently and found Me; visiting Mein My lonely cell at the risk of your own lives, and cheering My solitude; ye gave Me a coat, for Ishivered; and then I felt warm. With cups of cold water ye moistened My parched lips; whenfamished with hunger ye supplied Me with crusts, and my spirit revived—/Ye did it unto Me.'" Whatthoughts crowd upon us as we listen to such a description of the scenes of the Last Judgment! Andin the light of this view of the heavenly dialogue, how bald and wretched, not to say unscriptural,is that view of it to which we referred at the outset, which makes it a dialogue between Christ andheathens who never heard of His name, and of course never felt any stirrings of His love in theirhearts! To us it seems a poor, superficial objection to the Christian view of this scene, that Christianscould never be supposed to ask such questions as the "blessed of Christ's Father" are made to askhere. If there were any difficulty in explaining this, the difficulty of the other view is such as tomake it, at least, insufferable. But there is no real difficulty. The surprise expressed is not at theirbeing told that they acted from love to Christ, but that Christ Himself was the Personal Object ofall their deeds: that they found Him hungry, and supplied Him with food: that they brought waterto Him, and slaked His thirst; that seeing Him naked and shivering, they put warm clothing uponHim, paid Him visits when lying in prison for the truth, and sat by His bedside when laid downwith sickness. This is the astonishing interpretation which Jesus says "the King" will give to themof their own actions here below. And will any Christian reply, "How could this astonish them?Does not every Christian know that He does these very things, when He does them at all, just asthey are here represented?" Nay, rather, is it conceivable that they should not be astonished, andalmost doubt their own ears, to hear such an account of their own actions upon earth from the lipsof the Judge? And remember, that Judge has come in His glory, and now sits upon the throne ofHis glory, and all the holy angels are with Him; and that it is from those glorified Lips that thewords come forth, "Ye did all this unto Me." Oh, can we imagine such a word addressed to ourselves,and then fancy ourselves replying, "Of course we did—To whom else did we anything? It must beothers than we that are addressed, who never knew, in all their good deeds, what they were about?"Rather, can we imagine ourselves not overpowered with astonishment, and scarcely able to creditthe testimony borne to us by the King?41.Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, &c.—Asfor you on the left hand, ye did nothing for Me. I came to you also, but ye knew Me not: ye hadneither warm affections nor kind deeds to bestow upon Me: I was as one despised in your eyes.""In our eyes, Lord? We never saw Thee before, and never, sure, behaved we so to Thee." "But thusye treated these little ones that believe in Me and now stand on My right hand. In the disguise ofthese poor members of Mine I came soliciting your pity, but ye shut up your bowels of compassionfrom Me: I asked relief, but ye had none to give Me. Take back therefore your own coldness, yourown contemptuous distance: Ye bid Me away from your presence, and now I bid you fromMine—Depart from Me, ye cursed!"1963JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson46. And these shall go away—these "cursed" ones. Sentence, it should seem, was firstpronounced—in the hearing of the wicked—upon the righteous, who thereupon sit as assessors inthe judgment upon the wicked (1Co 6:2); but sentence is first executed, it should seem, upon thewicked, in the sight of the righteous—whose glory will thus not be beheld by the wicked, whiletheir descent into "their own place" will be witnessed by the righteous, as Bengel notes.into everlasting punishment—or, as in Mt 25:41, "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil andhis angels." Compare Mt 13:42; 2Th 1:9, &c. This is said to be "prepared for the devil and hisangels," because they were "first in transgression." But both have one doom, because one unholycharacter.but the righteous into life eternal—that is, "life everlasting." The word in both clauses, beingin the original the same, should have been the same in the translation also. Thus the decisions ofthis awful day will be final, irreversible, unending.CHAPTER 26Mt 26:1-16. Christ's Final Announcement of his Death, as Now within Two Days, and the Simultaneous Conspiracyof the Jewish Authorities to Compass It—The Anointing at Bethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray HisLord. ( = Mr 14:1-11; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).For the exposition, see on Mr 14:1-11.Mt 26:17-30. Preparation for and Last Celebration of the Passover Announcement of the Traitor, and Institution ofthe Supper. ( = Mr 14:12-26; Lu 22:7-23; Joh 13:1-3, 10, 11, 18-30).For the exposition, see on Lu 22:7-23.Mt 26:31-35. The Desertion of Jesus by His Disciples, and the Denial of Peter Foretold. ( = Mr 14:27-31; Lu22:31-38; Joh 13:36-38).For the exposition, see on Lu 22:31-38.Mt 26:36-46. The Agony in the Garden. ( = Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46).For the exposition, see on Lu 22:39-46.Mt 26:47-56. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mr 14:43-52; Lu 22:47-54;Joh 18:1-12).For the exposition, see on Joh 18:1-12.Mt 26:57-75. Jesus Arraigned before the Sanhedrim Condemned to Die, and Shamefully Entreated—The Denialof Peter. ( = Mr 14:53-72; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-18, 24-27).For the exposition, see on Mr 14:53-72.CHAPTER 27Mt 27:1-10. Jesus Led Away to Pilate—Remorse and Suicide of Judas. ( = Mr 15:1; Lu 23:1; Joh 18:28).Jesus Led Away to Pilate (Mt 27:1, 2).For the exposition of this portion, see on Joh 18:28, &c.Remorse and Suicide of Judas (Mt 27:3-10).This portion is peculiar to Matthew. On the progress of guilt in the traitor, see on Mr 14:1-11;Joh 13:21-30.1964JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned—Thecondemnation, even though not unexpected, might well fill him with horror. But perhaps thisunhappy man expected, that, while he got the bribe, the Lord would miraculously escape, as Hehad once and again done before, out of His enemies' power: and if so, his remorse would comeupon him with all the greater keenness.repented himself—but, as the issue too sadly showed, it was "the sorrow of the world, whichworketh death" (2Co 7:10).and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders—A remarkableillustration of the power of an awakened conscience. A short time before, the promise of this sordidpelf was temptation enough to his covetous heart to outweigh the most overwhelming obligationsof duty and love; now, the possession of it so lashes him that he cannot use it, cannot even keep it!4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood—What a testimony thisto Jesus! Judas had been with Him in all circumstances for three years; his post, as treasurer to Himand the Twelve (Joh 12:6), gave him peculiar opportunity of watching the spirit, disposition, andhabits of his Master; while his covetous nature and thievish practices would incline him to darkand suspicious, rather than frank and generous, interpretations of all that He said and did. If, then,he could have fastened on one questionable feature in all that he had so long witnessed, we maybe sure that no such speech as this would ever have escaped his lips, nor would he have been sostung with remorse as not to be able to keep the money and survive his crime.And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that—"Guilty or innocent is nothing to us:We have Him now—begone!" Was ever speech more hellish uttered?5. And he cast down the pieces of silver—The sarcastic, diabolical reply which he had got,in place of the sympathy which perhaps he expected, would deepen his remorse into an agony.in the temple—the temple proper, commonly called "the sanctuary," or "the holy place," intowhich only the priests might enter. How is this to be explained? Perhaps he flung the money inafter them. But thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet—"I cast them to the potter in the houseof the Lord" (Zec 11:13).and departed, and went and hanged himself—For the details, see on Ac 1:18.6. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them intothe treasury—"the Corban," or chest containing the money dedicated to sacred purposes (see onMt 15:5).because it is the price of blood—How scrupulous now! But those punctilious scruples madethem unconsciously fulfil the Scripture.9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying—(Zec 11:12,13). Never was a complicated prophecy, otherwise hopelessly dark, more marvellously fulfilled.Various conjectures have been formed to account for Matthew's ascribing to Jeremiah a prophecyfound in the book of Zechariah. But since with this book he was plainly familiar, having quotedone of its most remarkable prophecies of Christ but a few chapters before (Mt 21:4, 5), the questionis one more of critical interest than real importance. Perhaps the true explanation is the following,from Lightfoot: "Jeremiah of old had the first place among the prophets, and hereby he comes to bementioned above all the rest in Mt 16:14; because he stood first in the volume of the prophets (ashe proves from the learned David Kimchi) therefore he is first named. When, therefore, Matthewproduceth a text of Zechariah under the name of Jeremy, he only cites the words of the volume ofthe prophets under his name who stood first in the volume of the prophets. Of which sort is that1965JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonalso of our Saviour (Lu 24:41), 'All things must be fulfilled which are written of Me in the Law,and the Prophets, and the Psalms,' or the Book of Hagiographa, in which the Psalms were placedfirst."Mt 27:11-26. Jesus Again before Pilate—He Seeks to Release Him but at Length Delivers Him to Be Crucified.( = Mr 15:1-15; Lu 23:1-25; Joh 18:28-40).For the exposition, see on Lu 23:1-25; Joh 18:28-40.Mt 27:27-33. Jesus Scornfully and Cruelly Entreated of the Soldiers, Is Led Away to Be Crucified. ( = Mr15:16-22; Lu 23:26-31; Joh 19:2, 17).For the exposition, see on Mr 15:16-22.Mt 27:34-50. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus. ( = Mr 15:25-37; Lu 23:33-46; Joh 19:18-30).For the exposition, see on Joh 19:18-30.Mt 27:51-66. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus—He Is Taken Down from the Cross,and Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mr 15:38-47; Lu 23:47-56; Joh 19:31-42).The Veil Rent (Mt 27:51).51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom—Thiswas the thick and gorgeously wrought veil which was hung between the "holy place" and the "holiestof all," shutting out all access to the presence of God as manifested "from above the mercy seatand from between the cherubim"—"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest ofall was not yet made manifest" (Heb 9:8). Into this holiest of all none might enter, not even the highpriest, save once a year, on the great day of atonement, and then only with the blood of atonementin his hands, which he sprinkled "upon and before the mercy seat seven times" (Le 16:14)—tosignify that access for sinners to a holy God is only through atoning blood. But as they had onlythe blood of bulls and of goats, which could not take away sins (Heb 10:4), during all the long agesthat preceded the death of Christ the thick veil remained; the blood of bulls and of goats continuedto be shed and sprinkled; and once a year access to God through an atoning sacrifice wasvouchsafed—in a picture, or rather, was dramatically represented, in those symbolicalactions—nothing more. But now, the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the precious bloodof Christ, access to this holy God could no longer be denied; and so the moment the Victim expiredon the altar, that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation betweenGod and guilty men was, without a hand touching it, mysteriously "rent in twain from top tobottom"—"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was NOW mademanifest!" How emphatic the statement, from top to bottom; as if to say, Come boldly now to theThrone of Grace; the veil is clean gone; the mercy seat stands open to the gaze of sinners, and theway to it is sprinkled with the blood of Him—"who through the eternal Spirit hath offered Himselfwithout spot to God!" Before, it was death to go in, now it is death to stay out. See more on thisglorious subject on Heb 10. 19-22.An Earthquake—The Rocks Rent—The Graves Opened, that the Saints Which Slept in ThemMight Come Forth after Their Lord's Resurrection (Mt 27:51-53).51. and the earth did quake—From what follows it would seem that this earthquake was local,having for its object the rending of the rocks and the opening of the graves.and the rocks rent—"were rent"—the physical creation thus sublimely proclaiming, at thebidding of its Maker, the concussion which at that moment was taking place in the moral world atthe most critical moment of its history. Extraordinary rents and fissures have been observed in therocks near this spot.1966JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose—Thesesleeping saints (see on 1Th 4:14) were Old Testament believers, who—according to the usualpunctuation in our version—were quickened into resurrection life at the moment of their Lord'sdeath, but lay in their graves till His resurrection, when they came forth. But it is far more natural,as we think, and consonant with other Scriptures, to understand that only the graves were opened,probably by the earthquake, at our Lord's death, and this only in preparation for the subsequent exitof those who slept in them, when the Spirit of life should enter into them from their risen Lord, andalong with Him they should come forth, trophies of His victory over the grave. Thus, in the openingof the graves at the moment of the Redeemer's expiring, there was a glorious symbolical proclamationthat the death which had just taken place had "swallowed up death in victory"; and whereas thesaints that slept in them were awakened only by their risen Lord, to accompany Him out of thetomb, it was fitting that "the Prince of Life … should be the First that should rise from the dead"(Ac 26:23; 1Co 15:20, 23; Col 1:18; Re 1:5).and went into the holy city—that city where He, in virtue of whose resurrection they werenow alive, had been condemned.and appeared unto many—that there might be undeniable evidence of their own resurrectionfirst, and through it of their Lord's. Thus, while it was not deemed fitting that He Himself shouldappear again in Jerusalem, save to the disciples, provision was made that the fact of His resurrectionshould be left in no doubt. It must be observed, however, that the resurrection of these sleepingsaints was not like those of the widow of Nain's son, of Jairus' daughter, of Lazarus, and of the manwho "revived and stood upon his feet," on his dead body touching the bones of Elisha (2Ki13:21)—which were mere temporary recallings of the departed spirit to the mortal body, to befollowed by a final departure of it "till the trumpet shall sound." But this was a resurrection oncefor all, to life everlasting; and so there is no room to doubt that they went to glory with their Lord,as bright trophies of His victory over death.The Centurion's Testimony (Mt 27:54).54. Now when the centurion—the military superintendent of the execution.and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake—or felt it and witnessedits effects.and those things that were done—reflecting upon the entire transaction.they feared greatly—convinced of the presence of a Divine Hand.saying, Truly this was the Son of God—There cannot be a reasonable doubt that this expressionwas used in the Jewish sense, and that it points to the claim which Jesus made to be the Son of God,and on which His condemnation expressly turned. The meaning, then, clearly is that He must havebeen what He professed to be; in other words, that He was no impostor. There was no mediumbetween those two. See, on the similar testimony of the penitent thief—"This man hath done nothingamiss"—Luke 23. 41.The Galilean Women (Mt 27:55, 56).55. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus—The sense herewould be better brought out by the use of the pluperfect, "which had followed Jesus."from Galilee, ministering unto him—As these dear women had ministered to Him during Hisglorious missionary tours in Galilee (see on Lu 8:1-3), so from this statement it should seem thatthey accompanied him and ministered to His wants from Galilee on His final journey to Jerusalem.56. Among which was Mary Magdalene—(See on Lu 8:2).1967JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand Mary the mother of James and Joses—the wife of Cleophas, or rather Clopas, and sisterof the Virgin (Joh 19:25). See on Mt 13:55,56.and the mother of Zebedee's children—that is, Salome: compare Mr 15:40. All this aboutthe women is mentioned for the sake of what is afterwards to be related of their purchasing spicesto anoint their Lord's body.The Taking Down from the Cross and the Burial (Mt 27:57-60).For the exposition of this portion, see on Joh 19:38-42.The Women Mark the Sacred Spot that They Might Recognize It on Coming Thither to Anointthe Body (Mt 27:61).61. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary—"the mother of James and Joses,"mentioned before (Mt 27:56).sitting over against the sepulchre—(See on Mr 16:1).The Sepulchre Guarded (Mt 27:62-66).62. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation—that is, after six o'clock ofour Saturday evening. The crucifixion took place on the Friday and all was not over till shortlybefore sunset, when the Jewish sabbath commenced; and "that sabbath day was an high day" (Joh19:31), being the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. That day being over at six on Saturdayevening, they hastened to take their measures.63. Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver—Never, remarks Bengel, will you find theheads of the people calling Jesus by His own name. And yet here there is betrayed a certainuneasiness, which one almost fancies they only tried to stifle in their own minds, as well as crushin Pilate's, in case he should have any lurking suspicion that he had done wrong in yielding to them.said, while he was yet alive—Important testimony this, from the lips of His bitterest enemies,to the reality of Christ's death; the corner-stone of the whole Christian religion.After three days—which, according to the customary Jewish way of reckoning, need signifyno more than "after the commencement of the third day."I will rise again—"I rise," in the present tense, thus reporting not only the fact that this predictionof His had reached their ears, but that they understood Him to look forward confidently to itsoccurring on the very day named.64. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure—by a Roman guard.until the third day—after which, if He still lay in the grave, the imposture of His claims wouldbe manifest to all.and say unto the people, he is risen from the dead—Did they really fear this?so the last error shall be worse than the first—the imposture of His pretended resurrectionworse than that of His pretended Messiahship.65. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch—The guards had already acted under orders ofthe Sanhedrim, with Pilate's consent; but probably they were not clear about employing them as anight watch without Pilate's express authority.go your way, make it as sure as ye can—as ye know how, or in the way ye deem securest.Though there may be no irony in this speech, it evidently insinuated that if the event should becontrary to their wish, it would not be for want of sufficient human appliances to prevent it.66. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone—which Mark (Mr 16:4)says was "very great."1968JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand setting a watch—to guard it. What more could man do? But while they are trying to preventthe resurrection of the Prince of Life, God makes use of their precautions for His own ends. Theirstone-covered, seal-secured sepulchre shall preserve the sleeping dust of the Son of God free fromall indignities, in undisturbed, sublime repose; while their watch shall be His guard of honor untilthe angels shall come to take their place.CHAPTER 28Mt 28:1-15. Glorious Angelic Announcement on the First Day of the Week, that Christ Is Risen—His Appearanceto the Women—The Guards Bribed to Give a False Account of the Resurrection. ( = Mr 16:1-8; Lu 24:1-8; Joh20:1).The Resurrection Announced to the Women (Mt 28:1-8).1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn—after the Sabbath, as it grew towarddaylight.toward the first day of the week—Luke (Lu 24:1) has it, "very early in the morning"—properly,"at the first appearance of daybreak"; and corresponding with this, John (Joh 20:1) says, "when itwas yet dark." See on Mr 16:2. Not an hour, it would seem, was lost by those dear lovers of theLord Jesus.came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary—"the mother of James and Joses" (see on Mt27:56; Mt 27:61).to see the sepulchre—with a view to the anointing of the body, for which they had made alltheir preparations. (See on Mr 16:1, 2).And, behold, there was—that is, there had been, before the arrival of the women.a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, &c.—And this wasthe state of things when the women drew near. Some judicious critics think all this was transactedwhile the women were approaching; but the view we have given, which is the prevalent one, seemsthe more natural. All this august preparation—recorded by Matthew alone—bespoke the grandeurof the exit which was to follow. The angel sat upon the huge stone, to overawe, with thelightning-luster that darted from him, the Roman guard, and do honor to his rising Lord.3. His countenance—appearance.was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow—the one expressing the glory, the otherthe purity of the celestial abode from which he came.4. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men—Is the sepulchre"sure" now, O ye chief priests? He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at you.5. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye—The "ye" here is emphatic,to contrast their case with that of the guards. "Let those puny creatures, sent to keep the Living Oneamong the dead, for fear of Me shake and become as dead men (Mt 28:4); but ye that have comehither on another errand, fear not ye."for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified—Jesus the Crucified.6. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said—See on Lu 24:5-7.Come—as in Mt 11:28.1969JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsee the place where the Lord lay—Charming invitation! "Come, see the spot where the Lordof glory lay: now it is an empty grave: He lies not here, but He lay there. Come, feast your eyes onit!" But see on Joh 20:12.7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples—For a precious addition to this, see on Mr 16:7.that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee—to whichthose women belonged (Mt 27:55).there shall ye see him—This must refer to those more public manifestations of Himself tolarge numbers of disciples at once, which He vouchsafed only in Galilee; for individually He wasseen of some of those very women almost immediately after this (Mt 28:9, 10).Lo, I have told you—Behold, ye have this word from the world of light!8. And they departed quickly—Mark (Mr 16:8) says "they fled."from the sepulchre with fear and great joy—How natural this combination of feelings! Seeon a similar statement of Mr 16:11.and did run to bring his disciples word—"Neither said they anything to any man [by theway]; for they were afraid" (Mr 16:8).Appearance to the Women (Mt 28:9, 10).This appearance is recorded only by Matthew.9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail!—theusual salute, but from the lips of Jesus bearing a higher signification.And they came and held him by the feet—How truly womanly!10. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid—What dear associations would these familiarwords—now uttered in a higher style, but by the same Lips—bring rushing back to their recollection!go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me—The brethrenhere meant must have been His brethren after the flesh (compare Mt 13:55); for His brethren in thehigher sense (see on Joh 20:17) had several meetings with Him at Jerusalem before He went toGalilee, which they would have missed if they had been the persons ordered to Galilee to meetHim.The Guards Bribed (Mt 28:11-15).The whole of this important portion is peculiar to Matthew.11. Now when they were going—while the women were on their way to deliver to His brethrenthe message of their risen Lord.some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things thatwere done—Simple, unsophisticated soldiers! How could ye imagine that such a tale as ye had totell would not at once commend itself to your scared employers? Had they doubted this for amoment, would they have ventured to go near them, knowing it was death to a Roman soldier tobe proved asleep when on guard? and of course that was the only other explanation of the case.12. And when they were assembled with the elders—But Joseph at least was absent: Gamalielprobably also; and perhaps others.and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers—It would need a gooddeal; but the whole case of the Jewish authorities was now at stake. With what contempt must thesesoldiers have regarded the Jewish ecclesiastics!13. Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept—which,as we have observed, was a capital offense for soldiers on guard.1970JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson14. And if this come to the governor's ears—rather, "If this come before the governor"; thatis, not in the way of mere report, but for judicial investigation.we will persuade him, and secure you—The "we" and the "you" are emphatic here—"weshall [take care to] persuade him and keep you from trouble," or "save you harmless." Thegrammatical form of this clause implies that the thing supposed was expected to happen. Themeaning then is, "If this come before the governor—as it likely will—we shall see to it that," &c.The "persuasion" of Pilate meant, doubtless, quieting him by a bribe, which we know otherwisehe was by no means above taking (like Felix afterwards, Ac 24:26).15. So they took the money, and did as they were taught—thus consenting to brand themselveswith infamy.and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day—to the date of thepublication of this Gospel. The wonder is that so clumsy and incredible a story lasted so long. Butthose who are resolved not to come to the light will catch at straws. Justin Martyr, who flourishedabout A.D. 170, says, in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, that the Jews dispersed the story bymeans of special messengers sent to every country.Mt 28:16-20. Jesus Meets with the Disciples on a Mountain in Galilee and Gives Forth the Great Commission.16. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee—but certainly not before the secondweek after the resurrection, and probably somewhat later.into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them—It should have been rendered "themountain," meaning some certain mountain which He had named to them—probably the nightbefore He suffered, when He said, "After I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee" (Mt 26:32;Mr 14:28). What it was can only be conjectured; but of the two between which opinions aredivided—the Mount of the Beatitudes or Mount Tabor—the former is much the more probable,from its nearness to the Sea of Tiberias, where last before this the Narrative tells us that He metand dined with seven of them. (Joh 21:1, &c.). That the interview here recorded was the same asthat referred to in one place only—1Co 15:6—when "He was seen of above five hundred brethrenat once; of whom the greater part remained unto that day, though some were fallen asleep," is nowthe opinion of the ablest students of the evangelical history. Nothing can account for such a numberas five hundred assembling at one spot but the expectation of some promised manifestation of theirrisen Lord: and the promise before His resurrection, twice repeated after it, best explains thisimmense gathering.17. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted—certainly none of"the Eleven," after what took place at previous interviews in Jerusalem. But if the five hundredwere now present, we may well believe this of some of them.19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations—rather, "make disciples of all nations"; for"teaching," in the more usual sense of that word, comes in afterwards, and is expressed by a differentterm.baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—It shouldbe, "into the name"; as in 1Co 10:2, "And were all baptized unto (or rather 'into') Moses"; and Ga3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ."20. Teaching them—This is teaching in the more usual sense of the term; or instructing theconverted and baptized disciples.to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I—The "I" here is emphatic.It is enough that I1971JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonam with you alway—"all the days"; that is, till making converts, baptizing, and building themup by Christian instruction, shall be no more.even unto the end of the world. Amen—This glorious Commission embraces two primarydepartments, the Missionary and the Pastoral, with two sublime and comprehensive Encouragementsto undertake and go through with them.First, The Missionary department (Mt 28:18): "Go, make disciples of all nations." In thecorresponding passage of Mark (Mr 16:15) it is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospelto every creature." The only difference is, that in this passage the sphere, in its world-wide compassand its universality of objects, is more fully and definitely expressed; while in the former the greataim and certain result is delightfully expressed in the command to "make disciples of all nations.""Go, conquer the world for Me; carry the glad tidings into all lands and to every ear, and deem notthis work at an end till all nations shall have embraced the Gospel and enrolled themselves Mydisciples." Now, Was all this meant to be done by the Eleven men nearest to Him of the multitudethen crowding around the risen Redeemer? Impossible. Was it to be done even in their lifetime?Surely not. In that little band Jesus virtually addressed Himself to all who, in every age, shouldtake up from them the same work. Before the eyes of the Church's risen Head were spread out, inthose Eleven men, all His servants of every age; and one and all of them received His commissionat that moment. Well, what next? Set the seal of visible discipleship upon the converts, by "baptizingthem into the name," that is, into the whole fulness of the grace "of the Father, and of the Son, andof the Holy Ghost," as belonging to them who believe. (See on 2Co 13:14). This done, the Missionarydepartment of your work, which in its own nature is temporary, must merge in another, which ispermanent. This isSecond, The Pastoral department (Mt 28:20): "Teach them"—teach these baptized members ofthe Church visible—"to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," My apostles, duringthe three years ye have been with Me.What must have been the feelings which such a Commission awakened? "We who have scarceconquered our own misgivings—we, fishermen of Galilee, with no letters, no means, no influenceover the humblest creature, conquer the world for Thee, Lord? Nay, Lord, do not mock us." "I mockyou not, nor send you a warfare on your own charges. For"—Here we are brought toThird, The Encouragements to undertake and go through with this work. These are two; one in thevan, the other in the rear of the Commission itself.First Encouragement: "All power in heaven"—the whole power of Heaven's love and wisdomand strength, "and all power in earth"—power over all persons, all passions, all principles, allmovements—to bend them to this one high object, the evangelization of the world: All this "isgiven unto Me." as the risen Lord of all, to be by Me placed at your command—"Go ye therefore."But there remains aSecond Encouragement: "And lo! I am with you all the days"—not only to perpetuity, butwithout one day's interruption, "even to the end of the world," The "Amen" is of doubtful genuinenessin this place. If, however, it belongs to the text, it is the Evangelist's own closing word.THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TOMARK1972JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCommentary by David BrownINTRODUCTIONThat the Second Gospel was written by Mark is universally agreed, though by what Mark, notso. The great majority of critics take the writer to be "John whose surname was Mark," of whomwe read in the Acts, and who was "sister's son to Barnabas" (Col 4:10). But no reason whatever isassigned for this opinion, for which the tradition, though ancient, is not uniform; and one cannotbut wonder how it is so easily taken for granted by Wetstein, Hug, Meyer, Ebrard, Lange, Ellicott, Davidson,Tregelles, &c. Alford goes the length of saying it "has been universally believed that he was the sameperson with the John Mark of the Gospels." But Grotius thought differently, and so did Schleiermacher,Campbell, Burton, and Da Costa; and the grounds on which it is concluded that they were two differentpersons appear to us quite unanswerable. "Of John, surnamed Mark," says Campbell, in his Prefaceto this Gospel, "one of the first things we learn is, that he attended Paul and Barnabas in theirapostolical journeys, when these two travelled together (Ac 12:25; 13:5). And when afterwardsthere arose a dispute between them concerning him, insomuch that they separated, Mark accompaniedhis uncle Barnabas, and Silas attended Paul. When Paul was reconciled to Mark, which was probablysoon after, we find Paul again employing Mark's assistance, recommending him, and giving hima very honorable testimony (Col 4:10; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 24). But we hear not a syllable of his attendingPeter as his minister, or assisting him in any capacity." And yet, as we shall presently see, notradition is more ancient, more uniform, and better sustained by internal evidence, than that Mark,in his Gospel, was but "the interpreter of Peter," who, at the close of his first Epistle speaks of himas "Marcus my son" (1Pe 5:13), that is, without doubt, his son in the Gospel—converted to Christthrough his instrumentality. And when we consider how little the Apostles Peter and Paul weretogether—how seldom they even met—how different were their tendencies, and how separate theirspheres of labor, is there not, in the absence of all evidence of the fact, something approaching toviolence in the supposition that the same Mark was the intimate associate of both? "In brief," addsCampbell, "the accounts given of Paul's attendant, and those of Peter's interpreter, concur in nothingbut the name, Mark or Marcus; too slight a circumstance to conclude the sameness of the personfrom, especially when we consider how common the name was at Rome, and how customary itwas for the Jews in that age to assume some Roman name when they went thither."Regarding the Evangelist Mark, then, as another person from Paul's companion in travel, allwe know of his personal history is that he was a convert, as we have seen, of the Apostle Peter.But as to his Gospel, the tradition regarding Peter's hand in it is so ancient, so uniform, and soremarkably confirmed by internal evidence, that we must regard it as an established fact. "Mark,"says Papias (according to the testimony of Eusebius, [Ecclesiastical History, 3.39]), "becoming theinterpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, though not in order, whatever he remembered of what waseither said or done by Christ; for he was neither a hearer of the Lord nor a follower of Him, butafterwards, as I said, [he was a follower] of Peter, who arranged the discourses for use, but notaccording to the order in which they were uttered by the Lord." To the same effect Irenæus [AgainstHeresies, 3. 1]: "Matthew published a Gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching and foundingthe Church at Rome; and after their departure (or decease), Mark, the disciple and interpreter ofPeter, he also gave forth to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter." And Clement ofAlexandria is still more specific, in a passage preserved to us by Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.14]:"Peter having publicly preached the word at Rome, and spoken forth the Gospel by the Spirit, manyof those present exhorted Mark, as having long been a follower of his, and remembering what he1973JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhad said, to write what had been spoken; and that having prepared the Gospel, he delivered it tothose who had asked him for it; which, when Peter came to the knowledge of, he neither decidedlyforbade nor encouraged him." Eusebius' own testimony, however, from other accounts, is ratherdifferent: that Peter's hearers were so penetrated by his preaching that they gave Mark, as being afollower of Peter, no rest till he consented to write his Gospel, as a memorial of his oral teaching;and "that the apostle, when he knew by the revelation of the Spirit what had been done, was delightedwith the zeal of those men, and sanctioned the reading of the writing (that is, of this Gospel ofMark) in the churches" [Ecclesiastical History, 2.15]. And giving in another of his works a similarstatement, he says that "Peter, from excess of humility, did not think himself qualified to write theGospel; but Mark, his acquaintance and pupil, is said to have recorded his relations of the actingsof Jesus. And Peter testifies these things of himself; for all things that are recorded by Mark aresaid to be memoirs of Peter's discourses." It is needless to go farther—to Origen, who says Markcomposed his Gospel "as Peter guided" or "directed him, who, in his Catholic Epistle, calls himhis son," &c.; and to Jerome, who but echoes Eusebius.This, certainly, is a remarkable chain of testimony; which, confirmed as it is by such strikinginternal evidence, may be regarded as establishing the fact that the Second Gospel was drawn upmostly from materials furnished by Peter. In Da Costa's Four Witnesses the reader will find thisinternal evidence detailed at length, though all the examples are not equally convincing. But if thereader will refer to our remarks on Mr 16:7, and Joh 18:27, he will have convincing evidence of aPetrine hand in this Gospel.It remains only to advert, in a word or two, to the readers for whom this Gospel was, in thefirst instance, designed, and the date of it. That it was not for Jews but Gentiles, is evident fromthe great number of explanations of Jewish usages, opinions, and places, which to a Jew would atthat time have been superfluous, but were highly needful to a Gentile. We can here but refer to Mr2:18; 7:3, 4; 12:18; 13:3; 14:12; 15:42, for examples of these. Regarding the date of thisGospel—about which nothing certain is known—if the tradition reported by Irenæus can be reliedon, that it was written at Rome, "after the departure of Peter and Paul," and if by that word"departure" we are to understand their death, we may date it somewhere between the years 64 and68; but in all likelihood this is too late. It is probably nearer the truth to date it eight or ten yearsearlier.CHAPTER 1Mr 1:1-8. The Preaching and Baptism of John. ( = Mt 3:1-12; Lu 3:1-18).1. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God—By the "Gospel" of JesusChrist here is evidently meant the blessed Story which our Evangelist is about to tell of His Life,Ministry, Death, Resurrection, and Glorification, and of the begun Gathering of Believers in HisName. The abruptness with which he announces his subject, and the energetic brevity with which,passing by all preceding events, he hastens over the ministry of John and records the Baptism andTemptation of Jesus—as if impatient to come to the Public Life of the Lord of glory—have oftenbeen noticed as characteristic of this Gospel—a Gospel whose direct, practical, and singularly vividsetting imparts to it a preciousness peculiar to itself. What strikes every one is, that though thebriefest of all the Gospels, this is in some of the principal scenes of our Lord's history the fullest.1974JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonBut what is not so obvious is, that wherever the finer and subtler feelings of humanity, or the deeperand more peculiar hues of our Lord's character were brought out, these, though they should belightly passed over by all the other Evangelists, are sure to be found here, and in touches of suchquiet delicacy and power, that though scarce observed by the cursory reader, they leave indelibleimpressions upon all the thoughtful and furnish a key to much that is in the other Gospels. Thesefew opening words of the Second Gospel are enough to show, that though it was the purpose ofthis Evangelist to record chiefly the outward and palpable facts of our Lord's public life, herecognized in Him, in common with the Fourth Evangelist, the glory of the Only-begotten of theFather.2, 3. As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, whichshall prepare thy way before thee—(Mal 3:1; Isa 40:3).3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make hispaths straight—The second of these quotations is given by Matthew and Luke in the sameconnection, but they reserve the former quotation till they have occasion to return to the Baptist,after his imprisonment (Mt 11:10; Lu 7:27). (Instead of the words, "as it is written in the Prophets,"there is weighty evidence in favor of the following reading: "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet."This reading is adopted by all the latest critical editors. If it be the true one, it is to be explainedthus—that of the two quotations, the one from Malachi is but a later development of the greatprimary one in Isaiah, from which the whole prophetical matter here quoted takes its name. Butthe received text is quoted by Irenæus, before the end of the second century, and the evidence in itsfavor is greater in amount, if not in weight. The chief objection to it is, that if this was the truereading, it is difficult to see how the other one could have got in at all; whereas, if it be not the truereading, it is very easy to see how it found its way into the text, as it removes the startling difficultyof a prophecy beginning with the words of Malachi being ascribed to Isaiah.) For the exposition,see on Mt 3:1-6; Mt 3:11.Mr 1:9-11. Baptism of Christ and Descent of the Spirit upon Him Immediately Thereafter. ( = Mt 3:13-17; Lu3:21, 22).See on Mt 3:13-17.Mr 1:12, 13. Temptation of Christ. ( = Mt 4:1-11; Lu 4:1-13).See on Mt 4:1-11.Mr 1:14-20. Christ Begins His Galilean Ministry—Calling of Simon and Andrew, James and John.See on Mt 4:12-22.Mr 1:21-39. Healing of a Demoniac in the Synagogue of Capernaum and Thereafter of Simon's Mother-in-Lawand Many Others—Jesus, Next Day, Is Found in a Solitary Place at Morning Prayers, and Is Entreated to Return, butDeclines, and Goes Forth on His First Missionary Circuit. ( = Lu 4:31-44; Mt 8:14-17; 4:23-25).21. And they went into Capernaum—(See on Mt 4:13).and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught—Thisshould have been rendered, "straightway on the sabbaths He entered into the synagogue and taught,"or "continued to teach." The meaning is, that as He began this practice on the very first sabbathafter coming to settle at Capernaum, so He continued it regularly thereafter.22. And they were astonished at his doctrine—or "teaching"—referring quite as much to themanner as the matter of it.for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes—See on Mt 7:28, 29.1975JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit—literally, "in an uncleanspirit"—that is, so entirely under demoniacal power that his personality was sunk for the time inthat of the spirit. The frequency with which this character of "impurity" is ascribed to evilspirits—some twenty times in the Gospels—is not to be overlooked.and he cried out—as follows:24. Saying, Let us alone—or rather, perhaps, "ah!" expressive of mingled astonishment andterror.what have we to do with thee—an expression of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament(1Ki 17:18; 2Ki 3:13; 2Ch 35:21, &c.). It denotes entire separation of interests:—that is, "Thouand we have nothing in common; we want not Thee; what wouldst Thou with us?" For the analogousapplication of it by our Lord to His mother, see on Joh 2:4.thou Jesus of Nazareth—"Jesus, Nazarene!" an epithet originally given to express contempt,but soon adopted as the current designation by those who held our Lord in honor (Lu 18:37; Mr16:6; Ac 2:22).art thou come to destroy us?—In the case of the Gadarene demoniac the question was, "ArtThou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Mt 8:29). Themselves tormentors and destroyersof their victims, they discern in Jesus their own destined tormentor and destroyer, anticipating anddreading what they know and feel to be awaiting them! Conscious, too, that their power was butpermitted and temporary, and perceiving in Him, perhaps, the woman's Seed that was to bruise thehead and destroy the works of the devil, they regard His approach to them on this occasion as asignal to let go their grasp of this miserable victim.I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God—This and other even more glorioustestimonies to our Lord were given, as we know, with no good will, but in hope that, by theacceptance of them, He might appear to the people to be in league with evil spirits—a calumnywhich His enemies were ready enough to throw out against Him. But a Wiser than either was here,who invariably rejected and silenced the testimonies that came to Him from beneath, and thus wasable to rebut the imputations of His enemies against Him (Mt 12:24-30). The expression, "HolyOne of God," seems evidently taken from that Messianic Psalm (Ps 16:10), in which He is styled"Thine Holy One."25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him—A glorious wordof command. Bengel remarks that it was only the testimony borne to Himself which our Lord meantto silence. That he should afterwards cry out for fear or rage (Mr 1:26) He would right willinglypermit.26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him—Luke (Lu 4:35) says, "When he had thrownhim in the midst." Malignant cruelty—just showing what he would have done, if permitted to gofarther: it was a last fling!and cried with a loud voice—the voice of enforced submission and despair.he came out of him—Luke (Lu 4:35) adds, "and hurt him not." Thus impotent were the malignityand rage of the impure spirit when under the restraint of "the Stronger than the strong one armed"(Lu 11:21, 22).27. What thing is this? what new doctrine—teachingis this?—The audience, rightly apprehending that the miracle was wrought to illustrate theteaching and display the character and glory of the Teacher, begin by asking what novel kind ofteaching this could be, which was so marvellously attested.1976JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson28. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round aboutGalilee—rather, "the whole region of Galilee"; though some, as Meyer and Ellicott, explain it of thecountry surrounding Galilee.29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue—so also in Lu 4:38.they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John—The mention ofthese four—which is peculiar to Mark—is the first of those traces of Peter's hand in this Gospel,of which we shall find many more. The house being his, and the illness and cure so nearly affectinghimself, it is interesting to observe this minute specification of the number and names of thewitnesses; interesting also as the first occasion on which the sacred triumvirate of Peter and Jamesand John are selected from among the rest, to be a threefold cord of testimony to certain events intheir Lord's life (see on Mr 5:37)—Andrew being present on this occasion, as the occurrence tookplace in his own house.30. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever—Luke, as was natural in "the belovedphysician" (Col 4:14), describes it professionally; calling it a "great fever," and thus distinguishingit from that lighter kind which the Greek physicians were wont to call "small fevers," as Galen,quoted by Wetstein, tells us.and anon—immediately.they tell him of her—naturally hoping that His compassion and power towards one of His owndisciples would not be less signally displayed than towards the demonized stranger in the synagogue.31. And he came and took her by the hand—rather, "And advancing, He took her," &c. Thebeloved physician again is very specific: "And He stood over her."and lifted her up—This act of condescension, most felt doubtless by Peter, is recorded onlyby Mark.and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them—preparing theirsabbath-meal: in token both of the perfectness and immediateness of the cure, and of her gratitudeto the glorious Healer.32. And at even, when the sun did set—so Mt 8:16. Luke (Lu 4:40) says it was setting.they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils—thedemonized. From Lu 13:14 we see how unlawful they would have deemed it to bring their sick toJesus for a cure during the sabbath hours. They waited, therefore, till these were over, and thenbrought them in crowds. Our Lord afterwards took repeated occasion to teach the people by example,even at the risk of His own life, how superstitious a straining of the sabbath rest this was.33. And all the city was gathered together at the door—of Peter's house; that is, the sick andthose who brought them, and the wondering spectators. This bespeaks the presence of an eye-witness,and is one of those lively examples of word-painting so frequent in this Gospel.34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils—InMt 8:16 it is said, "He cast out the spirits with His word"; or rather, "with a word"—a word ofcommand.and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him—Evidently they would havespoken, if permitted, proclaiming His Messiahship in such terms as in the synagogue; but once inone day, and that testimony immediately silenced, was enough. See on Mr 1:24. After this accountof His miracles of healing, we have in Mt 8:17 this pregnant quotation, "That it might be fulfilledwhich was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying (Isa 53:4), Himself took our infirmities, and bareour sicknesses."1977JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson35. And in the morning—that is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first dayof the week. His choosing this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, shouldbe noted by the reader.rising up a great while before day—"while it was yet night," or long before daybreak.he went out—all unperceived from Peter's house, where He slept.and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed—or, "continued in prayer." He wasabout to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Lu 5:16;6:12; 9:18, 28, 29; Mr 6:46), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it.What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, withinhearing—not of His "strong crying and tears," for He had scarce arrived at the stage for that—butof His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and theoutpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him! He had doubtless enjoyedsome uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father ere His friends fromCapernaum arrived in search of Him. As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day ofmiracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loathto break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usualhour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, hefinds it—like the sepulchre afterwards—empty! Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him,Peter naturally leading the way.36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him—rather, "pressed after Him."Luke (Lu 4:42) says, "The multitudes sought after Him"; but this would be a party from the town.Mark, having his information from Peter himself, speaks only of what related directly to him. "Theythat were with him" would probably be Andrew his brother, James and John, with a few otherchoice brethren.37. And when they had found him—evidently after some search.they said unto him, All men seek for thee—By this time, "the multitudes" who, according toLuke (Lu 4:42), "sought after Him"—and who, on going to Peter's house, and there learning thatPeter and a few more were gone in search of Him, had set out on the same errand—would havearrived, and "came unto Him and stayed Him, that He should not depart from them" (Lu 4:42); allnow urging His return to their impatient townsmen.38. And he said unto them, Let us go—or, according to another reading, "Let us go elsewhere."into the next towns—rather, "unto the neighboring village-towns"; meaning those placesintermediate between towns and villages, with which the western side of the Sea of Galilee wasstudded.that I may preach there also; for therefore came I forth—not from Capernaum, as De Wettemiserably interprets, nor from His privacy in the desert place, as Meyer, no better; but from theFather. Compare Joh 16:28, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world,"&c.—another proof, by the way, that the lofty phraseology of the Fourth Gospel was not unknownto the authors of the others, though their design and point of view are different. The language inwhich our Lord's reply is given by Luke (Lu 4:43) expresses the high necessity under which, inthis as in every other step of His work, He acted—"I must preach the kingdom of God to othercities also; for therefore"—or, "to this end"—"am I sent." An act of self-denial it doubtless was, toresist such pleadings to return to Capernaum. But there were overmastering considerations on theother side.1978JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonMr 1:40-45. Healing of a Leper. ( = Mt 8:1-4; Lu 5:12-16).See on Mt 8:1-4.CHAPTER 2Mr 2:1-12. Healing of a Paralytic. ( = Mt 9:1-8; Lu 5:17-26).This incident, as remarked on Mt 9:1, appears to follow next in order of time after the cure ofthe leper (Mr 1:40-45).1. And again he entered into Capernaum—"His own city" (Mt 9:1).and it was noised that he was in the house—no doubt of Simon Peter (Mr 1:29).2. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room toreceive them, no, not so much as about the door—This is one of Mark's graphic touches. Nodoubt in this case, as the scene occurred at his informant's own door, these details are the vividrecollections of that honored disciple.and he preached the word unto them—that is, indoors; but in the hearing, doubtless, of themultitude that pressed around. Had He gone forth, as He naturally would, the paralytic's faith wouldhave had no such opportunity to display itself. Luke (Lu 5:17) furnishes an additional and veryimportant incident in the scene—as follows: "And it came to pass on a certain day, as He wasteaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of everytown," or village, "of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem." This was the highest testimony yet borneto our Lord's growing influence, and the necessity increasingly felt by the ecclesiastics throughoutthe country of coming to some definite judgment regarding Him. "And the power of the Lord was[present] to heal them"—or, "was [efficacious] to heal them," that is, the sick that were broughtbefore Him. So that the miracle that is now to be described was among the most glorious and worthyto be recorded of many then performed; and what made it so was doubtless the faith which wasmanifested in connection with it, and the proclamation of the forgiveness of the patient's sins thatimmediately preceded it.3. And they come unto him—that is, towards the house where He was.bringing one sick of the palsy—"lying on a bed" (Mt 9:2).which was borne of four—a graphic particular of Mark only.4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press—or, as in Luke (Lu 5:19),"when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude," they"went upon the housetop"—the flat or terrace-roof, universal in Eastern houses.they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down thebed—or portable couchwherein the sick of the palsy lay—Luke (Lu 5:19) says, they "let him down through the tillingwith his couch into the midst before Jesus." Their whole object was to bring the patient into thepresence of Jesus; and this not being possible in the ordinary way, because of the multitude thatsurrounded Him, they took the very unusual method here described of accomplishing their object,and succeeded. Several explanations have been given of the way in which this was done; but unlesswe knew the precise plan of the house, and the part of it from which Jesus taught—which may havebeen a quadrangle or open court, within the buildings of which Peter's house was one, or a gallery1979JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncovered by a veranda—it is impossible to determine precisely how the thing was done. One thing,however, is clear, that we have both the accounts from an eye-witness.5. When Jesus saw their faith—It is remarkable that all the three narratives call it "their faith"which Jesus saw. That the patient himself had faith, we know from the proclamation of hisforgiveness, which Jesus made before all; and we should have been apt to conclude that his fourfriends bore him to Jesus merely out of benevolent compliance with the urgent entreaties of thepoor sufferer. But here we learn, not only that his bearers had the same faith with himself, but thatJesus marked it as a faith which was not to be defeated—a faith victorious over all difficulties. Thiswas the faith for which He was ever on the watch, and which He never saw without marking, and,in those who needed anything from Him, richly rewarding.he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son—"be of good cheer" (Mt 9:2).thy sins be forgiven thee—By the word "be," our translators perhaps meant "are," as in Luke(Lu 5:20). For it is not a command to his sins to depart, but an authoritative proclamation of theman's pardoned state as a believer. And yet, as the Pharisees understood our Lord to be dispensingpardon by this saying, and Jesus not only acknowledges that they were right, but founds His wholeargument upon the correctness of it, we must regard the saying as a royal proclamation of the man'sforgiveness by Him to whom it belonged to dispense it; nor could such a style of address be justifiedon any lower supposition. (See on Lu 7:41, &c.).6. But there were certain of the scribes—"and the Pharisees" (Lu 5:21)sitting there—those Jewish ecclesiastics who, as Luke told us (Lu 5:17), "were come out ofevery village of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem," to make their observations upon this wonderfulPerson, in anything but a teachable spirit, though as yet their venomous and murderous feeling hadnot showed itself.and reasoning in their hearts.7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?—Inthis second question they expressed a great truth. (See Isa 43:25; Mic 7:18; Ex 34:6, 7, &c.). Norwas their first question altogether unnatural, though in our Lord's sole case it was unfounded. Thata man, to all appearances like one of themselves, should claim authority and power to forgive sins,they could not, on the first blush of it, but regard as in the last degree startling; nor were they entitledeven to weigh such a claim, as worthy of a hearing, save on supposition of resistless evidenceafforded by Him in support of the claim. Accordingly, our Lord deals with them as men entitledto such evidence, and supplies it; at the same time chiding them for rashness, in drawing harshconclusions regarding Himself.8. Why reason ye these things in your hearts—or, as in Matthew, (Mt 9:4) "Wherefore thinkye evil in your hearts?"9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee—or "areforgiven thee";or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed and walk?—"Is it easier to command away disease thanto bid away sin? If, then, I do the one which you can see, know thus that I have done the other,which you cannot see."10. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins—thatforgiving power dwells in the Person of this Man, and is exercised by Him while on this earth andgoing out and in with you.(he saith to the sick of the palsy),1980JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house—Thistaking up the portable couch, and walking home with it, was designed to prove the completenessof the cure.12. And immediately he arose, took up the bed—"Sweet saying!" says Bengel: "The bed hadborne the man: now the man bore the bed."and went forth before them all—proclaiming by that act to the multitude, whose wonderingeyes would follow him as he pressed through them, that He who could work such a glorious miracleof healing, must indeed "have power on earth to forgive sins."We never saw it on this fashion—"never saw it thus," or, as we say, "never saw the like." InLuke (Lu 5:26) it is, "We have seen strange [unexpected] things to-day"—referring both to themiracles wrought and the forgiveness of sins pronounced by Human Lips. In Matthew (Mt 9:8) itis, "They marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." At forgiving powerthey wondered not, but that a man, to all appearance like one of themselves, should possess it!Mr 2:13-17. Levi's (OR Matthew's) Call and Feast. ( = Mt 9:9-13; Lu 5:27-32).See on Mt 9:9-13.Mr 2:18-22. Discourse on Fasting. ( = Mt 9:14-17; Lu 5:33-39).See on Lu 5:33-39.Mr 2:23-28. Plucking Corn-ears on the Sabbath Day. ( = Mt 12:1-8; Lu 6:1-5).See on Mt 12:1-8.CHAPTER 3Mr 3:1-12. The Healing of a Withered Hand on the Sabbath Day, and Retirement of Jesus to Avoid Danger. ( =Mt 12:9-21; Lu 6:6-11).See on Mt 12:9-21.Mr 3:13-19. The Twelve Apostles Chosen.See on Lu 6:12-19.Mr 3:20-30. Jesus Is Charged with Madness and Demoniacal Possession—His Reply. ( = Mt 12:22-37; Lu11:14-26).See on Mt 12:22-37; Lu 11:21-26.Mr 3:31-35. His Mother and Brethren Seek to Speak with Him and the Reply. ( = Mt 12:46-50; Lu 8:19-21).See on Mt 12:46-50.CHAPTER 4Mr 4:1-34. Parable of the Sower—Reason for Teaching in Parables—Parables of the Seed Growing We Know NotHow, and of the Mustard Seed. ( = Mt 13:1-23, 31, 32; Lu 8:4-18).1. And he began again to teach by the seaside: and there was gathered unto him a greatmultitude—or, according to another well-supported reading, "a mighty" or "immense multitude."so that he entered into a ship—rather, "the ship," meaning the one mentioned in Mr 3:9. (Seeon Mt 12:15).and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land—crowded on theseashore to listen to Him. (See on Mt 13:1, 2.)1981JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine—or"teaching."Parable of the Sower (Mr 4:3-9, 13-20).Mr 4:3, 14. The Sower, the Seed, and the Soil.3. Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow—What means this? See on Mr 4:14.First Case: The Wayside. (Mr 4:4, 15).4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the wayside—by the side of the hard paththrough the field, where the soil was not broken up.and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up—Not only could the seed not get beneaththe surface, but "it was trodden down" (Lu 8:5), and afterwards picked up and devoured by thefowls. What means this? See on Mr 4:15.Second Case: The Stony or rather, Rocky Ground. (Mr 4:5, 16).5. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth—"the rocky ground"; inMatthew (Mt 13:5), "the rocky places"; in Luke (Lu 8:6), "the rock." The thing intended is, notground with stones in it which would not prevent the roots striking downward, but ground wherea quite thin surface of earth covers a rock. What means this? See on Mr 4:16.Third Case: The Thorny Ground. (Mr 4:7, 18, 19).7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded nofruit—This case is that of ground not thoroughly cleaned of the thistles, &c.; which, rising abovethe good seed, "choke" or "smother" it, excluding light and air, and drawing away the moisture andrichness of the soil. Hence it "becomes unfruitful" (Mt 13:22); it grows, but its growth is checked,and it never ripens. The evil here is neither a hard nor a shallow soil—there is softness enough, anddepth enough; but it is the existence in it of what draws all the moisture and richness of the soilaway to itself, and so starves the plant. What now are these "thorns?" See on Mr 4:19.Fourth Case: The Good Ground. (Mr 4:8, 20).8. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit, &c.—The goodness of this last soilconsists in its qualities being precisely the reverse of the other three soils: from its softness andtenderness, receiving and cherishing the seed; from its depth, allowing it to take firm root, and notquickly losing its moisture; and from its cleanness, giving its whole vigor and sap to the plant. Insuch a soil the seed "brings forth fruit," in all different degrees of profusion, according to themeasure in which the soil possesses those qualities. See on Mr 4:20.9. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.After this parable is recorded the Evangelist says:10. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve—probably those whofollowed Him most closely and were firmest in discipleship, next to the Twelve.asked of him the parable—The reply would seem to intimate that this parable of the sowerwas of that fundamental, comprehensive, and introductory character which we have assigned to it(see on Mt 13:1).Reason for Teaching in Parables (Mr 4:11, 12, 21-25).11, 12. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdomof God: but unto them, &c.—See on Mt 13:10-17.13. Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?—Probably this wassaid not so much in the spirit of rebuke, as to call their attention to the exposition of it which Hewas about to give, and so train them to the right apprehension of His future parables. As in the1982JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonparables which we have endeavored to explain in Mt 13., we shall take this parable and the Lord'sown exposition of the different parts of it together.14. The sower soweth the word—or, as in Luke (Lu 8:11), "Now the parable is this: The seedis the word of God." But who is "the sower?" This is not expressed here because if "the word ofGod" be the seed, every scatterer of that precious seed must be regarded as a sower. It is true thatin the parable of the tares it is said, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man," as "He thatsoweth the tares is the devil" (Mt 13:37, 38). But these are only the great unseen parties, strugglingin this world for the possession of man. Each of these has his agents among men themselves; andChrist's agents in the sowing of the good seed are the preachers of the word. Thus, as in all thecases about to be described, the sower is the same, and the seed is the same; while the result isentirely different, the whole difference must lie in the soils, which mean the different states of thehuman heart. And so, the great general lesson held forth in this parable of the sower is, that howeverfaithful the preacher, and how pure soever his message, the effect of the preaching of the worddepends upon the state of the hearer's heart. Now follow the cases. See on Mr 4:4.15. And these are they by the wayside, where the word is sown; but, when they have heard,&c.—or, more fully (Mt 13:19), "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandethit not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart." The greattruth here taught is, that hearts all unbroken and hard are no fit soil for saving truth. They apprehendit not (Mt 13:19) as God's means of restoring them to Himself; it penetrates not, makes no impression,but lies loosely on the surface of the heart, till the wicked one—afraid of losing a victim by his"believing to salvation" (Lu 8:12)—finds some frivolous subject by whose greater attractions todraw off the attention, and straightway it is gone. Of how many hearers of the word is this thegraphic but painful history!16. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground, &c.—"Immediately" theseed in such a case "springs up"—all the quicker from the shallowness of the soil—"because it hasno depth of earth." But the sun, beating on it, as quickly scorches and withers it up, "because it hasno root" (Mr 4:6), and "lacks moisture" (Lu 8:6). The great truth here taught is that heartssuperficially impressed are apt to receive the truth with readiness, and even with joy (Lu 8:13);but the heat of tribulation or persecution because of the word, or the trials which their new professionbrings upon them quickly dries up their relish for the truth, and withers all the hasty promise offruit which they showed. Such disappointing issues of a faithful and awakening ministry—alas,how frequent are they!18. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,19. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other thingsentering in—or "the pleasures of this life" (Lu 8:14).choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful—First, "The cares of this world"—anxious,unrelaxing attention to the business of this present life; second, "The deceitfulness of riches"—ofthose riches which are the fruit of this worldly "care"; third, "The pleasures of this life," or "thelusts of other things entering in"—the enjoyments in themselves may be innocent, which worldlyprosperity enables one to indulge. These "choke" or "smother" the word; drawing off so much ofone's attention, absorbing so much of one's interest, and using up so much of one's time, that onlythe dregs of these remain for spiritual things, and a fagged, hurried, and heartless formalism is atlength all the religion of such persons. What a vivid picture is this of the mournful condition ofmany, especially in great commercial countries, who once promised much fruit! "They bring no1983JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfruit to perfection" (Lu 8:14); indicating how much growth there may be, in the early stages of sucha case, and promise of fruit—which after all never ripens.20. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receiveit, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred—A heart soft andtender, stirred to its depths on the great things of eternity, and jealously guarded from worldlyengrossments, such only is the "honest and good heart" (Lu 8:15), which "keeps," that is, "retains"the seed of the word, and bears fruit just in proportion as it is such a heart. Such "bring forth fruitwith patience" (Mr 4:15), or continuance, "enduring to the end"; in contrast with those in whomthe word is "choked" and brings no fruit to perfection. The "thirtyfold" is designed to express thelowest degree of fruitfulness; the "hundredfold" the highest; and the "sixtyfold" the intermediatedegrees of fruitfulness. As a "hundredfold," though not unexampled (Ge 26:12), is a rare return inthe natural husbandry, so the highest degrees of spiritual fruitfulness are too seldom witnessed. Theclosing words of this introductory parable seem designed to call attention to the fundamental anduniversal character of it.21. And he said unto them, Is a candle—or "lamp"brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?—"thatthey which enter in may see the light" (Lu 8:16). See on Mt 5:15, of which this is nearly a repetition.22. For there is nothing hid which shall not be manifested, &c.—See on Mt 10:26, 27; butthe connection there and here is slightly different. Here the idea seems to be this—"I have privatelyexpounded to you these great truths, but only that ye may proclaim them publicly; and if ye willnot, others will. For these are not designed for secrecy. They are imparted to be diffused abroad,and they shall be so; yea, a time is coming when the most hidden things shall be brought to light."23. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear—This for the second time on the same subject(see on Mr 4:9).24. And he saith unto them, Take heed what ye hear—In Luke (Lu 8:18) it is, "Take heedhow ye hear." The one implies the other, but both precepts are very weighty.with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you—See on Mt 7:2.and unto you that hear—that is, thankfully, teachably, profitably.shall more be given.25. For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that hath not, from him shall be takeneven that which he hath—or "seemeth to have," or "thinketh he hath." (See on Mt 13:12). This"having" and "thinking he hath" are not different; for when it hangs loosely upon him, and is notappropriated to its proper ends and uses, it both is and is not his.Parable of the Seed Growing We Know Not How (Mr 4:26-29).This beautiful parable is peculiar to Mark. Its design is to teach the Imperceptible Growth ofthe word sown in the heart, from its earliest stage of development to the ripest fruits of practicalrighteousness.26, 27. So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and shouldsleep, and rise night and day—go about his other ordinary occupations, leaving it to the well-knownlaws of vegetation under the genial influences of heaven. This is the sense of "the earth bringingforth fruit of herself," in Mr 4:27.28. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that thefull corn in the ear—beautiful allusion to the succession of similar stages, though not definitelymarked periods, in the Christian life, and generally in the kingdom of God.1984JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson29. But when the fruit is brought forth—to maturityimmediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come—This charmingly pointsto the transition from the earthly to the heavenly condition of the Christian and the Church.Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mr 4:30-32).For the exposition of this portion, see on Mt 13:31, 32.33. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hearit—Had this been said in the corresponding passage of Matthew, we should have concluded thatwhat that Evangelist recorded was but a specimen of other parables spoken on the same occasion.But Matthew (Mt 13:34) says, "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables"; andas Mark records only some of the parables which Matthew gives, we are warranted to infer that the"many such parables" alluded to here mean no more than the full complement of them which wefind in Matthew.34. But without a parable spake he not unto them—See on Mt 13:34.and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples—See on Mr 4:22.Mr 4:35-5:20. Jesus Crossing the Sea of Galilee, Miraculously Stills a Tempest—He Cures the Demoniac ofGadara. ( = Mt 8:23-34; Lu 8:22-39).The time of this section is very definitely marked by our Evangelist, and by him alone, in theopening words.Jesus Stills a Tempest on the Sea of Galilee (Mr 4:35-41).35. And the same day—on which He spoke the memorable parables of the Mr 4:1-32, and ofMt 13:1-52.when the even was come—(See on Mr 6:35). This must have been the earlier evening—whatwe should call the afternoon—since after all that passed on the other side, when He returned to thewest side, the people were waiting for Him in great numbers (Mr 4:21; Lu 8:40).he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side—to the east side of the lake, tograpple with a desperate case of possession, and set the captive free, and to give the Gadarenes anopportunity of hearing the message of salvation, amid the wonder which that marvellous cure wasfitted to awaken and the awe which the subsequent events could not but strike into them.36. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in theship—that is, without any preparation, and without so much as leaving the vessel, out of which Hehad been all day teaching.And there were also with him other little ships—with passengers, probably, wishing toaccompany Him.37. And there arose a great storm of wind—"a tempest of wind." To such sudden squalls theSea of Galilee is very liable from its position, in a deep basin, skirted on the east by lofty mountainranges, while on the west the hills are intersected by narrow gorges through which the wind sweepsacross the lake, and raises its waters with great rapidity into a storm.and the waves beat into the ship—kept beating or pitching on the ship.so that it was now full—rather, "so that it was already filling." In Matthew (Mt 8:24), "insomuchthat the ship was covered with the waves"; but this is too strong. It should be, "so that the ship wasgetting covered by the waves." So we must translate the word used in Luke (Lu 8:23)—not as inour version—"And there came down a storm on the lake, and they were filled [with water]"—but"they were getting filled," that is, those who sailed; meaning, of course, that their ship was so.38. And he was in the hinder part of the ship—or stern.1985JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonasleep on a pillow—either a place in the vessel made to receive the head, or a cushion for thehead to rest on. It was evening; and after the fatigues of a busy day of teaching under the hot sun,having nothing to do while crossing the lake, He sinks into a deep sleep, which even this tempestraging around and tossing the little vessel did not disturb.and they awake him, and say unto him, Master—or "Teacher." In Luke (Lu 8:24) this isdoubled—in token of their life-and-death earnestness—"Master, Master."carest thou not that we perish?—Unbelief and fear made them sadly forget their place, tospeak so. Matthew (Mt 8:25) has it, "Lord, save us, we perish." When those accustomed to fishupon that deep thus spake, the danger must have been imminent. They say nothing of what wouldbecome of Him, if they perished; nor think, whether, if He could not perish, it was likely He wouldlet this happen to them; but they hardly knew what they said.39. And he arose, and rebuked the wind—"and the raging of the water" (Lu 8:24).and said unto the sea, Peace, be still—two sublime words of command, from a Master to Hisservants, the elements.And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm—The sudden hushing of the wind wouldnot at once have calmed the sea, whose commotion would have settled only after a considerabletime. But the word of command was given to both elements at once.40. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful?—There is a natural apprehension underdanger; but there was unbelief in their fear. It is worthy of notice how considerately the Lord defersthis rebuke till He had first removed the danger, in the midst of which they would not have beenin a state to listen to anything.how is it that ye have no faith?—next to none, or none in present exercise. In Matthew (Mt8:26) it is, "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" Faith they had, for they applied to Christ forrelief: but little, for they were afraid, though Christ was in the ship. Faith dispels fear, but only inproportion to its strength.41. And they feared exceedingly—were struck with deep awe.and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obeyhim?—"What is this? Israel has all along been singing of Jehovah, 'Thou rulest the raging of the sea:when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them!' 'The Lord on high is mightier than the noise ofmany waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea!' (Ps 89:9; 93:4). But, lo, in this very boat ofours is One of our own flesh and blood, who with His word of command hath done the same!Exhausted with the fatigues of the day, He was but a moment ago in a deep sleep, undisturbed bythe howling tempest, and we had to waken Him with the cry of our terror; but rising at our call,His majesty was felt by the raging elements, for they were instantly hushed—'What Manner of Man isthis?'"CHAPTER 5Glorious Cure of the Gadarene Demoniac (Mr 5:1-20).1. And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.2. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately—(see Mr 5:6).there met him a man with an unclean spirit—"which had devils [demons] long time" (Lu8:27). In Matthew (Mt 8:28), "there met him two men possessed with devils." Though there be no1986JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondiscrepancy between these two statements—more than between two witnesses, one of whom testifiesto something done by one person, while the other affirms that there were two—it is difficult to seehow the principal details here given could apply to more than one case.3. Who had his dwelling among the tombs—Luke (Lu 8:27) says, "He ware no clothes, neitherabode in any house." These tombs were hewn out of the rocky caves of the locality, and served forshelters and lurking places (Lu 8:26).4. Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, &c.—Luke says (Lu 8:29)that "oftentimes it [the unclean spirit] had caught him"; and after mentioning how they had vainlytried to bind him with chains and fetters, because, "he brake the bands," he adds, "and was drivenof the devil [demon] into the wilderness." The dark tyrant-power by which he was held clothedhim with superhuman strength and made him scorn restraint. Matthew (Mt 8:28) says he was"exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way." He was the terror of the whole locality.5. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, andcutting himself with stones—Terrible as he was to others, he himself endured untold misery,which sought relief in tears and self-inflicted torture.6. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him—not with the spontaneousalacrity which says to Jesus, "Draw me, we will run after thee," but inwardly compelled, withterrific rapidity, before the Judge, to receive sentence of expulsion.7. What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God,that thou torment me not—or, as in Mt 8:29, "Art Thou come to torment us before the time?"(See on Mr 1:24). Behold the tormentor anticipating, dreading, and entreating exemption fromtorment! In Christ they discern their destined Tormentor; the time, they know, is fixed, and theyfeel as if it were come already! (Jas 2:19).8. For he said unto him—that is, before the unclean spirit cried out.Come out of the man, unclean spirit!—Ordinarily, obedience to a command of this naturewas immediate. But here, a certain delay is permitted, the more signally to manifest the power ofChrist and accomplish His purposes.9. And he asked him, What is thy name?—The object of this question was to extort anacknowledgment of the virulence of demoniacal power by which this victim was enthralled.And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many—or, as in Luke (Lu 8:30)"because many devils [demons] were entered into him." A legion, in the Roman army, amounted,at its full complement, to six thousand; but here the word is used, as such words with us, and eventhis one, for an indefinitely large number—large enough however to rush, as soon as permissionwas given, into two thousand swine and destroy them.10. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country—Theentreaty, it will be observed, was made by one spirit, but in behalf of many—"he besought Himnot to send them, &c."—just as in Mr 5:9, "he answered we are many." But what do they mean byentreating so earnestly not to be ordered out of the country? Their next petition (Mr 5:12) will makethat clear enough.11. Now there was there, nigh unto the mountains—rather, "to the mountain," according towhat is clearly the true reading. In Mt 8:30, they are said to have been "a good way off." But theseexpressions, far from being inconsistent, only confirm, by their precision, the minute accuracy ofthe narrative.1987JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesona great herd of swine feeding—There can hardly be any doubt that the owners of these wereJews, since to them our Lord had now come to proffer His services. This will explain what follows.12. And all the devils besought him, saying—"if thou cast us out" (Mt 8:31).Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them—Had they spoken out all their mind,perhaps this would have been it: "If we must quit our hold of this man, suffer us to continue ourwork of mischief in another form, that by entering these swine, and thus destroying the people'sproperty, we may steel their hearts against Thee!"13. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave—In Matthew (Mt 8:32) this is given with majesticbrevity—"Go!" The owners, if Jews, drove an illegal trade; if heathens, they insulted the nationalreligion: in either case the permission was just.And the unclean spirits went out—of the man.and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently—rushed.down a steep place—down the hanging cliff.into the sea (they were about two thousand)—The number of them is given by this graphicEvangelist alone.and were choked in the sea—"perished in the waters" (Mt 8:32).14. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it—"told everything, and what was befallen tothe possessed of the devils" (Mt 8:33).in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done—Thushad they the evidence, both of the herdsmen and of their own senses, to the reality of both miracles.15. And they come to Jesus—Matthew (Mt 8:34) says, "Behold, the whole city came out tomeet Jesus."and see him that was possessed with the devil—the demonized person.and had the legion, sitting—"at the feet of Jesus," adds Luke (Lu 8:35); in contrast with hisformer wild and wandering habits.and clothed—As our Evangelist had not told us that he "ware no clothes," the meaning of thisstatement could only have been conjectured but for "the beloved physician" (Lu 8:27), who suppliesthe missing piece of information here. This is a striking case of what are called UndesignedCoincidences amongst the different Evangelists; one of them taking a thing for granted, as familiarlyknown at the time, but which we should never have known but for one or more of the others, andwithout the knowledge of which some of their statements would be unintelligible. The clothingwhich the poor man would feel the want of the moment his consciousness returned to him, wasdoubtless supplied to him by some of the Twelve.and in his right mind—but now, oh, in what a lofty sense! (Compare an analogous, though adifferent kind of case, Da 4:34-37).and they were afraid—Had this been awe only, it had been natural enough; but other feelings,alas! of a darker kind, soon showed themselves.16. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with thedevil—("the demonized person").and also concerning the swine—Thus had they the double testimony of the herdsmen andtheir own senses.17. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts—Was it the owners only ofthe valuable property now lost to them that did this? Alas, no! For Luke (Lu 8:37) says, "Then thewhole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought Him to depart from them;1988JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfor they were taken with great fear." The evil spirits had thus, alas! their object. Irritated, the peoplecould not suffer His presence; yet awe-struck, they dared not order Him off: so they entreat Himto withdraw, and—He takes them at their word.18. he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him—thegrateful heart, fresh from the hand of demons, clinging to its wondrous Benefactor. How exquisitelynatural!19. Howbeit, Jesus suffered him not, &c.—To be a missionary for Christ, in the region wherehe was so well known and so long dreaded, was a far nobler calling than to follow Him wherenobody had ever heard of him, and where other trophies not less illustrious could be raised by thesame power and grace.20. And he departed, and began to publish—not only among his friends, to whom Jesusimmediately sent him, butin Decapolis—so called, as being a region of ten cities. (See on Mt 4:25).how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel—Throughout thatconsiderable region did this monument of mercy proclaim his new-found Lord; and some, it is tobe hoped, did more than "marvel."Mr 5:21-43. The Daughter of Jairus Raised to Life—The Woman with an Issue of Blood Healed. ( = Mt 9:18-26;Lu 8:41-56).The occasion of this scene will appear presently.Jairus' Daughter (Mr 5:21-24).21. And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side—from the Gadareneside of the lake, where He had parted with the healed demoniac, to the west side, at Capernaum.much people gathered unto him—who "gladly received Him; for they were all waiting forHim" (Lu 8:40). The abundant teaching earlier that day (Mr 4:1, &c., and Mt 13:1-58) had onlywhetted the people's appetite: and disappointed, as would seem, that He had left them in the eveningto cross the lake, they remain hanging about the beach, having got a hint, probably through someof His disciples, that He would be back the same evening. Perhaps they witnessed at a distance thesudden calming of the tempest. The tide of our Lord's popularity was now fast rising.and he was nigh unto the sea.22. And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue—of which class therewere but few who believed in Jesus (Joh 7:48). One would suppose from this that the ruler hadbeen with the multitude on the shore, anxiously awaiting the return of Jesus, and immediately onHis arrival had accosted Him as here related. But Matthew (Mt 9:18) tells us that the ruler came toHim while He was in the act of speaking at His own table on the subject of fasting; and as we mustsuppose that this converted publican ought to know what took place on that memorable occasionwhen he made a feast to his Lord, we conclude that here the right order is indicated by the FirstEvangelist alone.Jairus by name—or "Jaeirus." It is the same name as Jair, in the Old Testament (Nu 32:41;Jud 10:3; Es 2:5).and when he saw him, he fell at his feet—in Matthew (Mt 9:18), "worshipped Him." Themeaning is the same in both.23. And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter—Luke (Lu 8:42) says, "He hadone only daughter, about twelve years of age." According to a well-known rabbin, quoted by Lightfoot,1989JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesona daughter, till she had completed her twelfth year, was called "little," or "a little maid"; after that,"a young woman."lieth at the point of death—Matthew (Mt 9:18) gives it thus: "My daughter is even nowdead"—"has just expired." The news of her death reached the father after the cure of the womanwith the issue of blood: but Matthew's brief account gives only the result, as in the case of thecenturion's servant (Mt 8:5, &c.).come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live—or, "that shemay be healed and live," according to a fully preferable reading. In one of the class to which thisman belonged, so steeped in prejudice, such faith would imply more than in others.The Woman with an Issue of Blood Healed (Mr 5:24-34).24. And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him—Theword in Luke (Lu 8:42) is stronger—"choked," "stifled Him."26. And had suffered many things of many physicians—The expression perhaps does notnecessarily refer to the suffering she endured under medical treatment, but to the much variedtreatment which she underwent.and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse—pitiablecase, and affectingly aggravated; emblem of our natural state as fallen creatures (Eze 16:5, 6), andillustrating the worse than vanity of all human remedies for spiritual maladies (Ho 5:13). The higherdesign of all our Lord's miracles of healing irresistibly suggests this way of viewing the presentcase, the propriety of which will still more appear as we proceed.27. When she had heard of Jesus, came—This was the right experiment at last. What had she"heard of Jesus?" No doubt it was His marvellous cures she had heard of; and the hearing of these,in connection with her bitter experience of the vanity of applying to any other, had been blessed tothe kindling in her soul of a firm confidence that He who had so willingly wrought such cures onothers was able and would not refuse to heal her also.in the press behind—shrinking, yet seeking.touched his garment—According to the ceremonial law, the touch of anyone having the diseasewhich this woman had would have defiled the person touched. Some think that the recollection ofthis may account for her stealthily approaching Him in the crowd behind, and touching but the hemof His garment. But there was an instinct in the faith which brought her to Jesus, which taught her,that if that touch could set her free from the defiling disease itself, it was impossible to communicatedefilement to Him, and that this wondrous Healer must be above such laws.28. For she said—"within herself" (Mt 9:21).If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole—that is, if I may but come in contact withthis glorious Healer at all. Remarkable faith this!29. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up—Not only was her issue ofblood stanched (Lu 8:44), but the cause of it was thoroughly removed, insomuch that by her bodilysensations she immediately knew herself perfectly cured.30. And Jesus immediately knowing in himself that virtue—or "efficacy."had gone out of him—He was conscious of the forthgoing of His healing power, which wasnot—as in prophets and apostles—something foreign to Himself and imparted merely, but whatHe had dwelling within Him as "His own fulness."turned him about in the press—crowd.and said, Who touched my clothes?1990JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson31. And his disciples said unto him—Luke says (Lu 8:45), "When all denied, Peter and theythat were with Him said, Master."Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?—"Askestthou, Lord, who touched Thee? Rather ask who touched Thee not in such a throng." "And Jesussaid, Somebody hath touched Me"—"a certain person has touched Me"—"for I perceive that virtueis gone out of Me" (Lu 8:46). Yes, the multitude "thronged and pressed Him"—they jostled againstHim, but all involuntarily; they were merely carried along; but one, one only—"a certainperson—TOUCHED Him," with the conscious, voluntary, dependent touch of faith, reaching forth itshand expressly to have contact with Him. This and this only Jesus acknowledges and seeks out.Even so, as Augustine long ago said, multitudes still come similarly close to Christ in the means ofgrace, but all to no purpose, being only sucked into the crowd. The voluntary, living contact offaith is that electric conductor which alone draws virtue out of Him.32. And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing—not for the purpose ofsummoning forth a culprit, but, as we shall presently see, to obtain from the healed one a testimonyto what He had done for her.33. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her—alarmed, as ahumble, shrinking female would naturally be, at the necessity of so public an exposure of herself,yet conscious that she had a tale to tell which would speak for her.came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth—In Luke (Lu 8:47) it is, "Whenthe woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before Him, she declaredunto Him before all the people for what cause she had touched Him, and how she was healedimmediately." This, though it tried the modesty of the believing woman, was just what Christwanted in dragging her forth, her public testimony to the facts of her case—the disease, with herabortive efforts at a cure, and the instantaneous and perfect relief which her touching the GreatHealer had brought her.34. And he said unto her, Daughter—"be of good comfort" (Lu 8:48).thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague—Though healedas soon as she believed, it seemed to her a stolen cure—she feared to acknowledge it. Jesus thereforesets His royal seal upon it. But what a glorious dismissal from the lips of Him who is "our Peace"is that, "Go in peace!"Jairus' Daughter Raised to Life (Mr 5:35-43).35. Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further?—the Teacher.36. he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe—Jesus, knowinghow the heart of the agonized father would sink at the tidings, and the reflections at the delay whichwould be apt to rise in his mind, hastens to reassure him, and in His accustomed style: "Be notafraid, only believe"—words of unchanging preciousness and power! How vividly do such incidentsbring out Christ's knowledge of the human heart and tender sympathy! (Heb 4:15).37. And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brotherof James—(See on Mr 1:29).38. And he cometh—rather, "they come."to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept andwailed greatly—"the minstrels and the people making a noise" (Mt 9:23)—lamenting for the dead.(See 2Ch 35:25; Jer 9:20; Am 5:16).1991JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson39. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? thedamsel is not dead, but sleepeth—so brief her state of death as to be more like a short sleep.40. And they laughed him to scorn—rather, simply, "laughed at Him"—"knowing that shewas dead" (Lu 8:53); an important testimony this to the reality of her death.But when he had put them all out—The word is strong—"turned them all out"; meaning allthose who were making this noise, and any others that may have been there from sympathy, thatonly those might be present who were most nearly concerned, and those whom He had Himselfbrought as witnesses of the great act about to be done.he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him—Peter,and James, and John.and entereth in where the damsel was lying.41. And he took the damsel by the hand—as He did Peter's mother-in-law (Mr 1:31).and said unto her, Talitha cumi—The words are Aramaic, or Syro-Chaldaic, the then languageof Palestine. Mark loves to give such wonderful words just as they were spoken. See Mr 7:34;14:36.42. And straightway the damsel—The word here is different from that in Mr 5:39-41, andsignifies "young maiden," or "little girl."arose, and walked—a vivid touch evidently from an eye-witness.And they were astonished with a great astonishment—The language here is the strongest.43. And he charged them straitly—strictly.that no man should know it—The only reason we can assign for this is His desire not to letthe public feeling regarding Him come too precipitately to a crisis.and commanded that something should be given her to eat—in token of perfect restoration.CHAPTER 6Mr 6:1-6. Christ Rejected at Nazareth. ( = Mt 13:54-58; Lu 4:16-30).See on Lu 4:16-30.Mr 6:7-13. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mt 10:1, 5-15; Lu 9:1-6).See on Mt 10:1; Mt 10:5-15.Mr 6:14-29. Herod Thinks Jesus a Resurrection of the Murdered Baptist—Account of His Death. ( = Mt 14:1-12;Lu 9:7-9).Herod's View of Christ (Mr 6:14-16).14. And King Herod—that is, Herod Antipas, one of the three sons of Herod the Great, andown brother of Archelaus (Mt 2:22), who ruled as ethnarch over Galilee and Perea.heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad); and he said—"unto his servants" (Mt14:2), his councillors or court ministers.That John the Baptist was risen from the dead—The murdered prophet haunted his guiltybreast like a specter, and seemed to him alive again and clothed with unearthly powers, in the personof Jesus.15. Others said, That it is Elias. And others, That it is a prophet, or as one of theprophets—(See on Mt 16:14).1992JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson16. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded; he is risen fromthe dead—"Himself has risen"; as if the innocence and sanctity of his faithful reprover had notsuffered that he should lie long dead.Account of the Baptist's Imprisonment and Death (Mr 6:17-29).17. For Herod himself had sent forth, and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison—inthe castle of Machærus, near the southern extremity of Herod's dominions, and adjoining the DeadSea [Josephus, Antiquities, 18.5,2].for Herodias' sake—She was the granddaughter of Herod the Great.his brother Philip's wife—and therefore the niece of both brothers. This Philip, however, wasnot the tetrarch of that name mentioned in Lu 3:1 (see on Lu 3:1), but one whose distinctive namewas "Herod Philip," another son of Herod the Great—who was disinherited by his father. HerodAntipas' own wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; but he prevailed on Herodias, hishalf-brother Philip's wife, to forsake her husband and live with him, on condition, says Josephus[Antiquities, 18.5,1], that he should put away his own wife. This involved him afterwards in warwith Aretas, who totally defeated him and destroyed his army, from the effects of which he wasnever able to recover himself.18. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife—Noblefidelity! It was not lawful because Herod's wife and Herodias' husband were both living; and further,because the parties were within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity (see Le 20:21); Herodiasbeing the daughter of Aristobulus, the brother of both Herod and Philip [Josephus, Antiquities, 18.5,4].19. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him—rather, as in the Margin, "had a grudgeagainst him." Probably she was too proud to speak to him; still less would she quarrel with him.and would have killed him; but she could not.20. For Herod feared John—but, as Bengel notes, John feared not Herod.knowing that he was a just man and an holy—Compare the case of Elijah with Ahab, afterthe murder of Naboth (1Ki 21:20).and observed him—rather, as in the Margin, "kept" or "saved him"; that is, from the wickeddesigns of Herodias, who had been watching for some pretext to get Herod entangled and committedto despatch him.and when he heard him, he did many things—many good things under the influence of theBaptist on his conscience.and heard him gladly—a striking statement this, for which we are indebted to our graphicEvangelist alone, illustrating the working of contrary principles in the slaves of passion. But thisonly shows how far Herodias must have wrought upon him, as Jezebel upon Ahab, that he shouldat length agree to what his awakened conscience kept him long from executing.21. And when a convenient day—for the purposes of Herodias.was come, that Herod—rather, "A convenient day being come, when Herod."on his birthday, made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee—Thisgraphic minuteness of detail adds much to the interest of the tragic narrative.22. And when the daughter of the said Herodias—that is, her daughter by her proper husband,Herod Philip: Her name was Salome [Josephus, Antiquities, 18.5,4].came in and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said untothe damsel—"the girl" (See on Mr 5:42).Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.1993JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. And he—the king, so called, but only by courtesy (see on Mr 6:14).sware unto her Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, unto the half of my kingdom—Those inwhom passion and luxury have destroyed self-command will in a capricious moment say and dowhat in their cool moments they bitterly regret.24. And she said, The head of John the Baptist—Abandoned women are more shamelessand heartless than men. The Baptist's fidelity marred the pleasures of Herodias, and this was toogood an opportunity of getting rid of him to let slip.25. I will that thou give me by and by—rather, "at once."in a charger—large, flat trencher.the head of John the Baptist.26. And the king was exceeding sorry—With his feelings regarding John, and the truths whichso told upon his conscience from that preacher's lips, and after so often and carefully saving himfrom his paramour's rage, it must have been very galling to find himself at length entrapped by hisown rash folly.yet for his oath's sake—See how men of no principle, but troublesome conscience, will stickat breaking a rash oath, while yielding to the commission of the worst crimes!and for their sakes which sat with him—under the influence of that false shame, which couldnot brook being thought to be troubled with religious or moral scruples. To how many has thisproved a fatal snare!he would not reject her.27. And immediately the king sent an executioner—one of the guards in attendance. Theword is Roman, denoting one of the Imperial Guard.and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in theprison—after, it would seem, more than twelve months' imprisonment. Blessed martyr! Dark andcheerless was the end reserved for thee: but now thou hast thy Master's benediction, "Blessed is hewhosoever shall not be offended in Me" (Mt 11:6), and hast found the life thou gavest away (Mt10:39). But where are they in whose skirts is found thy blood?28. And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave itto her mother—Herodias did not shed the blood of the stern reprover; she only got it done, andthen gloated over it, as it streamed from the trunkless head.29. And when his disciples heard of it—that is, the Baptist's own disciples.they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb—"and went and told Jesus" (Mt14:12). If these disciples had, up to this time, stood apart from Him, as adherents of John (Mt 11:2),perhaps they now came to Jesus, not without some secret reflection on Him for His seeming neglectof their master; but perhaps, too, as orphans, to cast in their lot henceforth with the Lord's disciples.How Jesus felt, or what He said, on receiving this intelligence, is not recorded; but He of whom itwas said, as He stood by the grave of His friend Lazarus, "Jesus wept," was not likely to receivesuch intelligence without deep emotion. And one reason why He might not be unwilling that asmall body of John's disciples should cling to him to the last, might be to provide some attachedfriends who should do for his precious body, on a small scale, what was afterwards to be done forHis own.Mr 6:30-56. The Twelve on Their Return, Having Reported the Success of Their Mission, Jesus Crosses the Sea ofGalilee with Them, Teaches the People, and Miraculously Feeds Them to the Number of Five Thousand—He Sends His1994JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonDisciples by Ship Again to the Western Side, While He Himself Returns Afterwards Walking on the Sea—Incidents onLanding. ( = Mt 14:13-36; Lu 9:10-17; Joh 6:1-24).Here, for the first time, all the four streams of sacred text run parallel. The occasion and all thecircumstances of this grand section are thus brought before us with a vividness quite remarkable.Five Thousand Miraculously Fed (Mr 6:30-44).30. And the apostles gathered themselves together—probably at Capernaum, on returningfrom their mission (Mr 6:7-13).and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught—Observe thevarious reasons He had for crossing to the other side. First, Matthew (Mt 14:13) says, that "whenJesus heard" of the murder of His faithful forerunner—from those attached disciples of his whohad taken up his body and laid it in a sepulchre (see on Mr 6:29)—"He departed by ship into adesert place apart"; either to avoid some apprehended consequences to Himself, arising from theBaptist's death (Mt 10:23), or more probably to be able to indulge in those feelings which thataffecting event had doubtless awakened, and to which the bustle of the multitude around Him wasvery unfavorable. Next, since He must have heard the report of the Twelve with the deepest interest,and probably with something of the emotion which He experienced on the return of the Seventy(see on Lu 10:17-22), He sought privacy for undisturbed reflection on this begun preaching andprogress of His kingdom. Once more, He was wearied with the multitude of "comers andgoers"—depriving Him even of leisure enough to take His food—and wanted rest: "Come yeyourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while," &c. Under the combined influence of allthese considerations, our Lord sought this change.32. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately—"over the Sea of Galilee, whichis the Sea of Tiberias," says John (Joh 6:1), the only one of the Evangelists who so fully describesit; the others having written when their readers were supposed to know something of it, while thelast wrote for those at a greater distance of time and place. This "desert place" is more definitelydescribed by Luke (Lu 9:10) as "belonging to the city called Bethsaida." This must not be confoundedwith the town so called on the western side of the lake (see on Mt 11:21). This town lay on itsnortheastern side, near where the Jordan empties itself into it: in Gaulonitis, out of the dominionsof Herod Antipas, and within the dominions of Philip the Tetrarch (Lu 3:1), who raised it from avillage to a city, and called it Julias, in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus [Josephus, Antiquities,18.2,1].33. And the people—the multitudes.saw them departing, and many knew him—The true reading would seem to be: "And manysaw them departing, and knew or recognized [them]."and ran afoot—Here, perhaps, it should be rendered "by land"—running round by the headof the lake, and taking one of the fords of the river, so as to meet Jesus, who was crossing with theTwelve by ship.thither out of all cities, and outwent them—got before them.and came together unto him—How exceedingly graphic is this! every touch of it betokeningthe presence of an eye-witness. John (Joh 6:3) says, that "Jesus went up into amountain"—somewhere in that hilly range, the green tableland which skirts the eastern side of thelake.34. And Jesus, when he came out of the ship—having gone on shore.saw much people—a great multitude.1995JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having ashepherd—At the sight of the multitudes who had followed Him by land and even got before Him,He was so moved, as was His wont in such cases, with compassion, because they were likeshepherdless sheep, as to forego both privacy and rest that He might minister to them. Here wehave an important piece of information from the Fourth Evangelist (Joh 6:4), "And the passover,a feast of the Jews, was nigh"—rather, "Now the passover, the feast of the Jews, was nigh." Thisaccounts for the multitudes that now crowded around Him. They were on their way to keep thatfestival at Jerusalem. But Jesus did not go up to this festival, as John expressly tells us, (Joh7:1)—remaining in Galilee, because the ruling Jews sought to kill Him.35. And when the day was now far spent—"began to wear away" or "decline," says Luke(Lu 9:12). Matthew (Mt 14:15) says, "when it was evening"; and yet he mentions a later eveningof the same day (Mr 6:23). This earlier evening began at three P.M.; the latter began at sunset.36. Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages,and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat—John tells us (Joh 6:5, 6) that "Jesussaid to Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? (And this He said to prove him: forHe Himself knew what He would do)." The subject may have been introduced by some remark ofthe disciples; but the precise order and form of what was said by each can hardly be gathered withprecision, nor is it of any importance.37. He answered and said unto them—"They need not depart" (Mt 14:10).Give ye them to eat—doubtless said to prepare them for what was to follow.And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and givethem to eat?—"Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them,that every one of them may take a little" (Joh 6:7).38. He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, theysay, Five, and two fishes—John is more precise and full: "One of His disciples, Andrew, SimonPeter's brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two smallfishes: but what are they among so many?" (Joh 6:8, 9). Probably this was the whole stock ofprovisions then at the command of the disciples—no more than enough for one meal to them—andentrusted for the time to this lad. "He said, Bring them hither to me" (Mt 14:18).39. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass—or"green hay"; the rank grass of those bushy wastes. For, as John (Joh 6:10) notes, "there was muchgrass in the place."40. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties—Doubtless this was to showat a glance the number fed, and to enable all to witness in an orderly manner this glorious miracle.41. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven—Thuswould the most distant of them see distinctly what He was doing.and blessed—John (Joh 6:11) says, "And when he had given thanks." The sense is the same.This thanksgiving for the meal, and benediction of it as the food of thousands, was the crisis of themiracle.and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them—thus virtuallyholding forth these men as His future ministers.and the two fishes divided he among them all.42. And they did all eat, and were filled—All the four Evangelists mention this: and John(Joh 6:11) adds, "and likewise of the fishes, as much as they would"—to show that vast as was the1996JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmultitude, and scanty the provisions, the meal to each and all of them was a plentiful one. "Whenthey were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing belost" (Joh 6:12). This was designed to bring out the whole extent of the miracle.43. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes—"Therefore(says Joh 6:13), they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of thefive barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten." The article hererendered "baskets" in all the four narratives was part of the luggage taken by Jews on a journey—tocarry, it is said, both their provisions and hay to sleep on, that they might not have to depend onGentiles, and so run the risk of ceremonial pollution. In this we have a striking corroboration ofthe truth of the four narratives. Internal evidence renders it clear, we think, that the first threeEvangelists wrote independently of each other, though the fourth must have seen all the others. Buthere, each of the first three Evangelists uses the same word to express the apparently insignificantcircumstance that the baskets employed to gather up the fragments were of the kind which eventhe Roman satirist, Juvenal, knew by the name of cophinus, while in both the narratives of the feedingof the Four Thousand the baskets used are expressly said to have been of the kind called spuris.(See Mr 8:19, 20.)44. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men—"besides womenand children" (Mt 14:21). Of these, however, there would probably not be many; as only the maleswere obliged to go to the approaching festival.Jesus Recrosses to the Western side of the Lake Walking on the Sea (Mr 6:45-56).One very important particular given by John alone (Joh 6:15) introduces this portion: "WhenJesus therefore perceived that they would take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departedagain into a mountain Himself alone."45. And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the otherside before—Him.unto Bethsaida—Bethsaida of Galilee (Joh 12:21). John (Joh 6:17) says they "went over thesea towards Capernaum"—the wind, probably, occasioning this slight deviation from the directionof Bethsaida.while he sent away the people—"the multitude." His object in this was to put an end to themisdirected excitement in His favor (Joh 6:15), into which the disciples themselves may have beensomewhat drawn. The word "constrained" implies reluctance on their part, perhaps fromunwillingness to part with their Master and embark at night, leaving Him alone on the mountain.46. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray—thus at lengthgetting that privacy and rest which He had vainly sought during the earlier part of the day;opportunity also to pour out His soul in connection with the extraordinary excitement in His favorthat evening—which appears to have marked the zenith of His reputation, for it began to declinethe very next day; and a place whence He might watch the disciples on the lake, pray for them intheir extremity, and observe the right time for coming to them, in a new manifestation of His glory,on the sea.47. And when even was come—the later evening (see on Mr 6:35). It had come even whenthe disciples embarked (Mt 14:23; Joh 6:16).the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land—John says (Joh 6:17), "It wasnow dark, and Jesus was not come to them." Perhaps they made no great effort to push across atfirst, having a lingering hope that their Master would yet join them, and so allowed the darkness1997JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto come on. "And the sea arose" (adds the beloved disciple, Joh 6:18), "by reason of a great windthat blew."48. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them—putting forthall their strength to buffet the waves and bear on against a head wind, but to little effect. He "saw"this from His mountain top, and through the darkness of the night, for His heart was all with them:yet would He not go to their relief till His own time came.and about the fourth watch of the night—The Jews, who used to divide the night into threewatches, latterly adopted the Roman division into four watches, as here. So that, at the rate of threehours to each, the fourth watch, reckoning from six P.M., would be three o'clock in the morning."So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs" (Joh 6:19)—rather more thanhalfway across. The lake is about seven miles broad at its widest part. So that in eight or nine hoursthey had only made some three and a half miles. By this time, therefore, they must have been in astate of exhaustion and despondency bordering on despair; and now at length, having tried themlong enough.he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea—"and draweth nigh unto the ship" (Joh 6:19).and would have passed by them—but only in the sense of Lu 24:28; Ge 32:26; compare Ge18:3, 5; 42:7.49. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, andcried out—"for fear" (Mt 14:26). He would appear to them at first like a dark moving speck uponthe waters; then as a human figure; but in the dark tempestuous sky, and not dreaming that it couldbe their Lord, they take it for a spirit. Compare Lu 24:37.50. For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, andsaith unto them, Be of good cheer: It is I; be not afraid—There is something in these two littlewords—given by Matthew, Mark and John (Mt 14:27; Mr 6:50; Joh 6:20)—"It is I," which fromthe mouth that spake it and the circumstances in which it was uttered, passes the power of languageto express. Here were they in the midst of a raging sea, their little bark the sport of the elements,and with just enough of light to descry an object on the waters which only aggravated their fears.But Jesus deems it enough to dispel all apprehension to let them know that He was there. Fromother lips that "I am" would have merely meant that the person speaking was such a one and notanother person. That, surely, would have done little to calm the fears of men expecting every minute,it may be, to go to the bottom. But spoken by One who at that moment was "treading upon thewaves of the sea," and was about to hush the raging elements with His word, what was it but theVoice which cried of old in the ears of Israel, even from the days of Moses, "I AM"; "I, EVEN I, AMHe!" Compare Joh 18:5, 6; 8:58. Now, that Word is "made flesh, and dwells among us," utteringitself from beside us in dear familiar tones—"It is the Voice of my Beloved!" How far was thisapprehended by these frightened disciples? There was one, we know, in the boat who outstrippedall the rest in susceptibility to such sublime appeals. It was not the deep-toned writer of the FourthGospel, who, though he lived to soar beyond all the apostles, was as yet too young for prominence,and all unripe. It was Simon Barjonas. Here follows a very remarkable and instructive episode,recorded by Matthew alone:Peter Ventures to Walk upon the Sea (Mt 14:28-32).Mt 14:28:1998JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonAnd Peter answered Him, and said, Lord, If it be Thou, bid me come untoThee on the water—not "let me," but "give me the word of command"—"command,"or "order me to come unto Thee upon the waters."Mt 14:29:And He said, Come—Sublime word, issuing from One conscious of power overthe raging element, to bid it serve both Himself and whomsoever else He pleased!And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked upon thewater—"waters."to come to Jesus—"It was a bold spirit," says Bishop Hall, "that could wish it;more bold that could act it—not fearing either the softness or the roughness of thatuncouth passage."Mt 14:30:But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid: and beginning to sink,he cried, saying, Lord, save me—The wind was as boisterous before, but Peter"saw" it not, seeing only the power of Christ, in the lively exercise of faith. Now he"sees" the fury of the elements, and immediately the power of Christ to bear him upfades before his view, and this makes him "afraid"—as how could he be otherwise,without any felt power to keep him up? He then "begins to sink"; and finally,conscious that his experiment had failed, he casts himself, in a sort of desperateconfidence, upon his "Lord" for deliverance!Mt 14:31:And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and saidunto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?—This rebuke was notadministered while Peter was sinking, nor till Christ had him by the hand: firstreinvigorating his faith, and then with it enabling him again to walk upon the crestedwave. Useless else had been this loving reproof, which owns the faith that hadventured on the deep upon the bare word of Christ, but asks why that distrust whichso quickly marred it.Mt 14:32:And when they—Jesus and Peter.were come into the ship, the wind ceased.51. And he went up unto them into the ship—John (Joh 6:21) says, "Then they willinglyreceived him into the ship"—or rather, "Then were they willing to receive Him" (with reference totheir previous terror); but implying also a glad welcome, their first fears now converted into wonderand delight. "And immediately," adds the beloved disciple, "they were at the land whither theywent," or "were bound." This additional miracle, for as such it is manifestly related, is recorded bythe fourth Evangelist alone. As the storm was suddenly calmed, so the little bark—propelled bythe secret power of the Lord of nature now sailing in it—glided through the now unruffled waters,and, while they were wrapt in wonder at what had happened, not heeding their rapid motion, wasfound at port, to their still further surprise."Then are they glad, because at restAnd quiet now they be;1999JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonSo to the haven He them bringsWhich they desired to see."Matthew (Mt 14:33) says, "Then they that were in the ship came [that is, ere they got to land]and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God." But our Evangelist is wonderfullystriking.and the wind ceased and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, andwondered—The Evangelist seems hardly to find language strong enough to express theirastonishment.52. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves; for their heart was hardened—Whata singular statement! The meaning seems to be that if they had but "considered [reflected upon]the miracle of the loaves," wrought but a few hours before, they would have wondered at nothingwhich He might do within the whole circle of power and grace.Incidents on Landing (Mr 6:53-56).The details here are given with a rich vividness quite peculiar to this charming Gospel.53. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret—from whichthe lake sometimes takes its name, stretching along its western shore. Capernaum was theirlanding-place (Joh 6:24, 25).and drew to the shore—a nautical phrase, nowhere else used in the New Testament.54. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him—"immediatelythey recognized Him"; that is, the people did.55. and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was—Atthis period of our Lord's ministry the popular enthusiasm in His favor was at its height.56. and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment—havingheard, no doubt, of what the woman with the issue of blood experienced on doing so (Mr 5:25-29),and perhaps of other unrecorded cases of the same nature.and as many as touched him—or "it"—the border of His garment.were made whole—All this they continued to do and to experience while our Lord was in thatregion. The time corresponds to that mentioned (Joh 7:1), when He "walked in Galilee," instead ofappearing in Jerusalem at the passover, "because the Jews," that is, the rulers, "sought to killHim"—while the people sought to enthrone Him!CHAPTER 7Mr 7:1-23. Discourse on Ceremonial Pollution. ( = Mt 15:1-20).See on Mt 15:1-20.Mr 7:24-37. The Syrophoenician Woman and Her Daughter—A Deaf and Dumb Man Healed. ( = Mt 15:21-31).The Syrophoenician Woman and Her Daughter (Mr 7:24-30).The first words of this narrative show that the incident followed, in point of time, immediatelyon what precedes it.24. And from thence he arose, and went into the borders—or "unto the borders."of Tyre and Sidon—the two great Phoenician seaports, but here denoting the territory generally,to the frontiers of which Jesus now came. But did Jesus actually enter this heathen territory? Thewhole narrative, we think, proceeds upon the supposition that He did. His immediate object seems2000JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonto have been to avoid the wrath of the Pharisees at the withering exposure He had just made of theirtraditional religion.and entered into an house, and would have no man know it—because He had not comethere to minister to heathens. But though not "sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt15:24), He hindered not the lost sheep of the vast Gentile world from coming to Him, nor put themaway when they did come—as this incident was designed to show.but he could not be hid—Christ's fame had early spread from Galilee to this very region (Mr3:8; Lu 6:17).25. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit—or, as in Matthew(Mt 15:22), "was badly demonized."heard of him—One wonders how; but distress is quick of hearing.and fell at his feet:26. The woman was a Greek—that is, "a Gentile," as in the Margin.a Syrophoenician by nation—so called as inhabiting the Phoenician tract of Syria. Juvenal usesthe same term, as was remarked by Justin Martyr and Tertullian. Matthew (Mt 15:22) calls her "a womanof Canaan"—a more intelligible description to his Jewish readers (compare Jud 1:30, 32, 33).and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter—"She criedunto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David: my daughter is grievously vexed witha devil" (Mt 15:22). Thus, though no Israelite herself, she salutes Him as Israel's promised Messiah.Here we must go to Mt 15:23-25 for some important links in the dialogue omitted by our Evangelist.Mt 15:23:But he answered her not a word—The design of this was first, perhaps, to showthat He was not sent to such as she. He had said expressly to the Twelve, "Go notinto the way of the Gentiles" (Mt 10:5); and being now among them Himself, Hewould, for consistency's sake, let it be seen that He had not gone thither formissionary purposes. Therefore He not only kept silence, but had actually left thehouse, and—as will presently appear—was proceeding on His way back, when thiswoman accosted Him. But another reason for keeping silence plainly was to try andwhet her faith, patience, and perseverance. And it had the desired effect: "She criedafter them," which shows that He was already on His way from the place.And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for shecrieth after us—They thought her troublesome with her importunate cries, just asthey did the people who brought young children to be blessed of Him, and they asktheir Lord to "send her away," that is, to grant her request and be rid of her; for wegather from His reply that they meant to solicit favor for her, though not for her sakeso much as their own.Mt 15:24:But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the houseof Israel—a speech evidently intended for the disciples themselves, to satisfy themthat, though the grace He was about to show to this Gentile believer was beyondHis strict commission, He had not gone spontaneously to dispense it. Yet did eventhis speech open a gleam of hope, could she have discerned it. For thus might she2001JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhave spoken: "I am not SENT, did He say? Truth, Lord, Thou comest not hither inquest of us, but I come in quest of Thee; and must I go empty away? So did not thewoman of Samaria, whom when Thou foundest her on Thy way to Galilee, Thousentest away to make many rich!" But this our poor Syrophoenician could not attainto. What, then, can she answer to such a speech? Nothing. She has reached her lowestdepth, her darkest moment: she will just utter her last cry:Mt 15:25:Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me!—This appeal, soartless, wrung from the depths of a believing heart, and reminding us of the publican's"God be merciful to me a sinner," moved the Redeemer at last to break silence—butin what style? Here we return to our own Evangelist.27. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled—"Is there hope for me here?""Filled FIRST?" "Then my turn, it seems, is coming!—but then, 'The CHILDREN first?' Ah! when,on that rule, shall my turn ever come!" But ere she has time for these ponderings of His word,another word comes to supplement it.for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs—Is this the deathof her hopes? Nay, rather it is life from the dead. Out of the eater shall come forth meat (Jud 14:14)."At evening-time, it shall be light" (Zec 14:7). "Ah! I have it now. Had He kept silence, what couldI have done but go unblest? but He hath spoken, and the victory is mine."28. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord—or, as the same word is rendered inMt 15:27. "Truth, Lord."yet the dogs eat of the children's crumbs—"which fall from their master's table" (Mt 15:27)."I thank Thee, O blessed One, for that word! That's my whole case. Not of the children? True. Adog? True also: Yet the dogs under the table are allowed to eat of the children's crumbs—thedroppings from their master's full table: Give me that, and I am content: One crumb of power andgrace from Thy table shall cast the devil out of my daughter." Oh, what lightning quickness, whatreach of instinctive ingenuity, do we behold in this heathen woman!29. And he said unto her—"O woman, great is thy faith" (Mt 15:28). As Bengel beautifullyremarks, Jesus "marvelled" only at two things—faith and unbelief (see Lu 7:9).For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter—That moment the deedwas done.30. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughterlaid upon the bed—But Matthew (Mt 15:28) is more specific; "And her daughter was made wholefrom that very hour." The wonderfulness of this case in all its features has been felt in every ageof the Church, and the balm it has administered, and will yet administer, to millions will be knownonly in that day that shall reveal the secrets of all hearts.Deaf and Dumb Man Healed (Mr 7:31-37).31. And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the Sea ofGalilee—or, according to what has very strong claims to be regarded as the true text here, "Andagain, departing from the coasts of Tyre, He came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee." Themanuscripts in favor of this reading, though not the most numerous, are weighty, while the versionsagreeing with it are among the most ancient; and all the best critical editors and commentators2002JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonadopt it. In this case we must understand that our Lord, having once gone out of the Holy Land thelength of Tyre, proceeded as far north as Sidon, though without ministering, so far as appears, inthose parts, and then bent His steps in a southeasterly direction. There is certainly a difficulty inthe supposition of so long a detour without any missionary object: and some may think this sufficientto cast the balance in favor of the received reading. Be this as it may, on returning from these coastsof Tyre, He passedthrough the midst of the coasts—frontiers.of Decapolis—crossing the Jordan, therefore, and approaching the lake on its east side. HereMatthew, who omits the details of the cure of this deaf and dumb man, introduces some particulars,from which we learn that it was only one of a great number. "And Jesus," says that Evangelist (Mt15:29-31), "departed from thence, and came nigh unto the Sea of Galilee, and went up into amountain"—the mountain range bounding the lake on the northeast, in Decapolis: "And greatmultitudes came unto Him, having with them lame, blind, dumb, maimed"—not "mutilated," whichis but a secondary sense of the word, but "deformed"—"and many others, and cast them down atJesus' feet; and He healed them: insomuch that the multitude [multitudes] wondered, when theysaw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and theyglorified the God of Israel"—who after so long and dreary an absence of visible manifestation, hadreturned to bless His people as of old (compare Lu 7:16). Beyond this it is not clear from theEvangelist's language that the people saw into the claims of Jesus. Well, of these cases Mark heresingles out one, whose cure had something peculiar in it.32. And they bring unto him one that was deaf … and they beseech him to put his handupon him—In their eagerness they appear to have been somewhat too officious. Though usuallydoing as here suggested, He will deal with this case in His own way.33. And he took him aside from the multitude—As in another case He "took the blind manby the hand and led him out of the town" (Mr 8:23), probably to fix his undistracted attention onHimself, and, by means of certain actions He was about to do, to awaken and direct his attentionto the proper source of relief.and put his fingers into his ears—As his indistinct articulation arose from his deafness, ourLord addresses Himself to this first. To the impotent man He said, "Wilt thou be made whole?" tothe blind men, "What will ye that I shall do unto you?" and "Believe ye that I am able to do this?"(Joh 5:6; Mt 20:32; 9:28). But as this patient could hear nothing, our Lord substitutes symbolicalactions upon each of the organs affected.and he spit and touched his tongue—moistening the man's parched tongue with saliva fromHis own mouth, as if to lubricate the organ or facilitate its free motion; thus indicating the sourceof the healing virtue to be His own person. (For similar actions, see Mr 8:23; Joh 9:6).34. And looking up to heaven—ever acknowledging His Father, even while the healing wasseen to flow from Himself (see on Joh 5:19).he sighed—"over the wreck," says Trench, "which sin had brought about, and the malice of thedevil in deforming the fair features of God's original creation." But, we take it, there was a yet morepainful impression of that "evil thing and bitter" whence all our ills have sprung, and which, when"Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses" (Mt 8:17), became mysteriously His own."In thought of these his brows benign,Not even in healing, cloudless shine."2003JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonKebleand saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened—Our Evangelist, as remarked on Mr5:41, loves to give such wonderful words just as they were spoken.35. And straightway his ears were opened—This is mentioned first as the source of the otherderangement.and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain—The cure was thus alikeinstantaneous and perfect.36. And he charged them that they should tell no man—Into this very region He had sentthe man out of whom had been cast the legion of devils, to proclaim "what the Lord had done forhim" (Mr 5:19). Now He will have them "tell no man." But in the former case there was no dangerof obstructing His ministry by "blazing the matter" (Mr 1:45), as He Himself had left the region;whereas now He was sojourning in it.but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it—Theycould not be restrained; nay, the prohibition seemed only to whet their determination to publishHis fame.37. And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well—remindingus, says Trench, of the words of the first creation (Ge 1:31, Septuagint), upon which we are thus notunsuitably thrown back, for Christ's work is in the truest sense "a new creation,"he maketh both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak—"and they glorified the God ofIsrael" (Mt 15:31). See on Mr 7:31.CHAPTER 8Mr 8:1-26. Four Thousand Miraculously Fed—A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—The Leaven of thePharisees and Sadducees—A Blind Man at Bethsaida Restored to Sight. ( = Mt 15:32-16:12).This section of miscellaneous matter evidently follows the preceding one in point of time, aswill be seen by observing how it is introduced by Matthew.Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mr 8:1-9).1. In those days the multitude being very great, &c.2. I have compassion on the multitude—an expression of that deep emotion in the Redeemer'sheart which always preceded some remarkable interposition for relief. (See Mt 14:14; 20:34; Mr1:41; Lu 7:13; also Mt 9:36, before the mission of the Twelve; compare Jud 2:18; 10:16).because they have now been with me—in constant attendance.three days, and have nothing to eat:3. And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way—In theireagerness they seem not to have thought of the need of provisions for such a length of time; butthe Lord thought of it. In Matthew (Mt 15:32) it is, "I will not send them away fasting"—or rather,"To send them away fasting I am unwilling."4. From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?—Thoughthe question here is the same as when He fed the five thousand, they evidently now meant no moreby it than that they had not the means of feeding the multitude; modestly leaving the Lord to decidewhat was to be done. And this will the more appear from His not now trying them, as before, by2004JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonsaying, "They need not depart, give ye them to eat"; but simply asking what they had, and thengiving His directions.5. And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven—It was importantin this case, as in the former, that the precise number of the loaves should be brought out. Thusalso does the distinctness of the two miracles appear.9. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away—Had notour Lord distinctly referred, in this very chapter and in two successive sentences, to the feeding ofthe five thousand and of the four thousand as two distinct miracles, many critics would have insistedthat they were but two different representations of one and the same miracle, as they do of the twoexpulsions of the buyers and sellers from the temple, at the beginning and end of our Lord's ministry.But even in spite of what our Lord says, it is painful to find such men as Neander endeavoring toidentify the two miracles. The localities, though both on the eastern side of the lake, were different;the time was different; the preceding and following circumstances were different; the period duringwhich the people continued fasting was different—in the one case not even one entire day, in theother three days; the number fed was different—five thousand in the one case, in the other fourthousand; the number of the loaves was different—five in the one case, in the other seven; thenumber of the fishes in the one case is definitely stated by all the four Evangelists—two; in theother case both give them indefinitely—"a few small fishes"; in the one case the multitude werecommanded to sit down "upon the green grass"; in the other "on the ground"; in the one case thenumber of the baskets taken up filled with the fragments was twelve, in the other seven; but morethan all, perhaps, because apparently quite incidental, in the one case the name given to the kindof baskets used is the same in all the four narratives—the cophinus (see on Mr 6:43); in the othercase the name given to the kind of baskets used, while it is the same in both the narratives, is quitedifferent—the spuris, a basket large enough to hold a man's body, for Paul was let down in one ofthese from the wall of Damascus (Ac 9:25). It might be added, that in the one case the people, ina frenzy of enthusiasm, would have taken Him by force to make Him a king; in the other case nosuch excitement is recorded. In view of these things, who could have believed that these were oneand the same miracle, even if the Lord Himself had not expressly distinguished them?Sign from Heaven Sought (Mr 8:10-13).10. And straightway he entered into a ship—"into the ship," or "embarked."with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha—In Matthew (Mt 15:39) it is "thecoasts of Magdala." Magdala and Dalmanutha were both on the western shore of the lake, andprobably not far apart. From the former the surname "Magdalene" was probably taken, to denotethe residence of Mary Magdalene. Dalmanutha may have been a village, but it cannot now beidentified with certainty.11. seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him—not in the least desiring evidence fortheir conviction, but hoping to entrap Him. The first part of the answer is given in Matthew alone(Mt 16:2, 3): "He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather;for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering[sullen, gloomy]. Hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signsof the times?" The same simplicity of purpose and careful observation of the symptoms ofapproaching events which they showed in common things would enable them to "discern the signsof the times"—or rather "seasons," to which the prophets pointed for the manifestation of theMessiah. The scepter had departed from Judah; Daniel's seventy weeks were expiring, &c.; and2005JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonmany other significant indications of the close of the old economy, and preparations for a freer andmore comprehensive one, might have been discerned. But all was lost upon them.12. And he sighed deeply in his spirit—The language is very strong. These glimpses into theinterior of the Redeemer's heart, in which our Evangelist abounds, are more precious than rubies.The state of the Pharisaic heart, which prompted this desire for a fresh sign, went to His very soul.and saith, Why doth this generation—"this wicked and adulterous generation" (Mt 16:4).seek after a sign?—when they have had such abundant evidence already.There shall no sign be given unto this generation—literally, "If there shall be given to thisgeneration a sign"; a Jewish way of expressing a solemn and peremptory determination to thecontrary (compare Heb 4:5; Ps 95:11, Margin). "A generation incapable of appreciating suchdemonstrations shall not be gratified with them." In Mt 16:4 He added, "but the sign of the prophetJonas." (See on Mt 12:39, 40.)13. And he left them—no doubt with tokens of displeasure.and entering into the ship again, departed to the other side.The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mr 8:14-21).14. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with themmore than one loaf—This is another example of that graphic circumstantiality which gives sucha charm to this briefest of the four Gospels. The circumstance of the "one loaf" only remaining, asWebster and Wilkinson remark, was more suggestive of their Master's recent miracles than the entireabsence of provisions.15. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees—"andof the Sadducees" (Mt 16:6).and of the leaven of Herod—The teaching or "doctrine" (Mt 16:12) of the Pharisees and ofthe Sadducees was quite different, but both were equally pernicious; and the Herodians, thoughrather a political party, were equally envenomed against our Lord's spiritual teaching. See on Mt12:14. The penetrating and diffusive quality of leaven, for good or bad, is the ground of thecomparison.16. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread—But alittle while ago He was tried with the obduracy of the Pharisees; now He is tried with the obtusenessof His own disciples. The nine questions following each other in rapid succession (Mr 8:17-21)show how deeply He was hurt at this want of spiritual apprehension, and worse still, their lowthoughts of Him, as if He would utter so solemn a warning on so petty a subject. It will be seen,however, from the very form of their conjecture, "It is because we have no bread," and our Lord'sastonishment that they should not by that time have known better with what He took up Hisattention—that He ever left the whole care for His own temporal wants to the Twelve: that He didthis so entirely, that finding they were reduced to their last loaf they felt as if unworthy of such atrust, and could not think but that the same thought was in their Lord's mind which was pressingupon their own; but that in this they were so far wrong that it hurt His feelings—sharp just inproportion to His love—that such a thought of Him should have entered their minds! Who that,like angels, "desire to look into these things" will not prize such glimpses above gold?17. have ye your heart yet hardened?—How strong an expression to use of true-hearteddisciples! See on Mr 6:52.18. Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?—See on Mt 13:13.and do ye not remember?2006JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson19. When I brake the five loaves among five thousand—"the five thousand."how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? &c.21. How is it that ye do not understand?—"do not understand that the warning I gave youcould not have been prompted by any such petty consideration as the want of loaves in your scrip."Profuse as were our Lord's miracles, we see from this that they were not wrought at random, butthat He carefully noted their minutest details, and desired that this should be done by those whowitnessed, as doubtless by all who read the record of them. Even the different kind of baskets usedat the two miraculous feedings, so carefully noted in the two narratives, are here also referred to;the one smaller, of which there were twelve, the other much larger, of which there were seven.Blind Man at Bethsaida Restored to Sight (Mr 8:22-26).22. And he cometh to Bethsaida—Bethsaida Julias, on the northeast side of the lake, whenceafter this He proceeded to Cæsarea Philippi (Mr 8:27).and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him—See on Mr 7:32.23. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town—Of the deaf anddumb man it is merely said that "He took him aside" (Mr 7:33); but this blind man He led by thehand out of the town, doing it Himself rather than employing another—great humility, exclaimsBengel—that He might gain his confidence and raise his expectation.and when he had spit on his eyes—the organ affected—See on Mr 7:33.and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught.24. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking—This is one of the cases inwhich one edition of what is called the received text differs from another. That which is decidedlythe best supported, and has also internal evidence on its side is this: "I see men; for I see [them] astrees walking"—that is, he could distinguish them from trees only by their motion; a minute markof truth in the narrative, as Alford observes, describing how human objects had appeared to himduring that gradual failing of sight which had ended in blindness.25. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up; and he wasrestored, and saw every man clearly—Perhaps the one operation perfectly restored the eyes,while the other imparted immediately the faculty of using them. It is the only recorded example ofa progressive cure, and it certainly illustrates similar methods in the spiritual kingdom. Of the fourrecorded cases of sight restored, all the patients save one either came or were brought to thePhysician. In the case of the man born blind, the Physician came to the patient. So some seek andfind Christ; of others He is found who seek Him not.26. Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town—Besides the usual reasons againstgoing about "blazing the matter," retirement in this case would be salutary to himself.Mr 8:27-38. Peter's Noble Confession of Christ—Our Lord's First Explicit Announcement of His ApproachingSufferings, Death, and Resurrection—His Rebuke of Peter, and Warning to All the Twelve. ( = Mt 16:13-27; Lu9:18-26).For the exposition, see on Mt 16:13-28.CHAPTER 9Mr 9:1-13. Jesus Is Transfigured—Conversation about Elias. ( = Mt 16:28-17:13; Lu 9:27-36).See on Lu 9:27-36.2007JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonMr 9:14-32. Healing of a Demoniac Boy—Second Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Death andResurrection. ( = Mt 17:14-23; Lu 9:37-45).Healing of the Demoniac Boy (Mr 9:14-29).14. And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and thescribes questioning with them—This was "on the next day, when they were come down from thehill" (Lu 9:37). The Transfiguration appears to have taken place at night. In the morning, as Hecame down from the hill on which it took place—with Peter, and James, and John—on approachingthe other nine, He found them surrounded by a great multitude, and the scribes disputing or discussingwith them. No doubt these cavillers were twitting the apostles of Jesus with their inability to curethe demoniac boy of whom we are presently to hear, and insinuating doubts even of their Master'sability to do it; while they, zealous for their Master's honor, would no doubt refer to His past miraclesin proof of the contrary.15. And straightway all the people—the multitude.when they beheld him, were greatly amazed—were astounded.and running to him saluted him—The singularly strong expression of surprise, the suddenarrest of the discussion, and the rush of the multitude towards Him, can be accounted for by nothingless than something amazing in His appearance. There can hardly be any doubt that His countenancestill retained traces of His transfiguration-glory. (See Ex 34:29, 30). So Bengel, De Wette, Meyer,Trench, Alford. No wonder, if this was the case, that they not only ran to Him, but saluted Him. OurLord, however, takes no notice of what had attracted them, and probably it gradually faded awayas He drew near; but addressing Himself to the scribes, He demands the subject of their discussion,ready to meet them where they had pressed hard upon His half-instructed and as yet timid apostles.16. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?—Ere they had time to reply,the father of the boy, whose case had occasioned the dispute, himself steps forward and answersthe question; telling a piteous tale of deafness, and dumbness, and fits of epilepsy—ending withthis, that the disciples, though entreated, could not perform the cure.17. And one of the multitude answered, and said, Master, I have brought unto thee myson—"mine only child" (Lu 9:38).which hath a dumb spirit—a spirit whose operation had the effect of rendering his victimspeechless, and deaf also (Mr 9:25). In Matthew's report of the speech (Mt 17:15), the father says"he is lunatic"; this being another and most distressing effect of the possession.18. And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he foameth, and gnasheth withhis teeth, and pineth away—rather, "becomes withered," "dried up," or "paralyzed"; as the sameword is everywhere else rendered in the New Testament. Some additional particulars are given byLuke, and by our Evangelist below. "Lo," says he in Lu 9:39, "a spirit taketh him, and he suddenlycrieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly [or with difficulty]departeth from him."and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not—Our Lordreplies to the father by a severe rebuke to the disciples. As if wounded at the exposure before sucha multitude, of the weakness of His disciples' faith, which doubtless He felt as a reflection onHimself, He puts them to the blush before all, but in language fitted only to raise expectation ofwhat He Himself would do.19. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation—"and perverse," or "perverted"(Mt 17:17; Lu 9:41).2008JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhow long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?—language implying that it wasa shame to them to want the faith necessary to perform this cure, and that it needed some patienceto put up with them. It is to us surprising that some interpreters, as Chrysostom and Calvin, shouldrepresent this rebuke as addressed, not to the disciples at all, but to the scribes who disputed withthem. Nor does it much, if at all, mend the matter to view it as addressed to both, as most expositorsseem to do. With Bengel, De Wette, and Meyer, we regard it as addressed directly to the nine apostleswho were unable to expel this evil spirit. And though, in ascribing this inability to their "want offaith" and the "perverted turn of mind" which they had drunk in with their early training, the rebukewould undoubtedly apply, with vastly greater force, to those who twitted the poor disciples withtheir inability, it would be to change the whole nature of the rebuke to suppose it addressed to thosewho had no faith at all, and were wholly perverted. It was because faith sufficient for curing thisyouth was to be expected of the disciples, and because they should by that time have got rid of theperversity in which they had been reared, that Jesus exposes them thus before the rest. And whodoes not see that this was fitted, more than anything else, to impress upon the by-standers the severeloftiness of the training He was giving to the Twelve, and the unsophisticated footing He was onwith them?Bring him unto me—The order to bring the patient to Him was instantly obeyed; when, lo! asif conscious of the presence of his Divine Tormentor, and expecting to be made to quit, the foulspirit rages and is furious, determined to die hard, doing all the mischief he can to this poor childwhile yet within his grasp.20. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tarehim—Just as the man with the legion of demons, "when he saw Jesus, ran and worshipped Him"(Mr 5:6), so this demon, when he saw Him, immediately "tare him." The feeling of terror and ragewas the same in both cases.and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming—Still Jesus does nothing, but keepsconversing with the father about the case—partly to have its desperate features told out by himwho knew them best, in the hearing of the spectators; partly to let its virulence have time to showitself; and partly to deepen the exercise of the father's soul, to draw out his faith, and thus to prepareboth him and the by-standers for what He was to do.21. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Ofa child, &c.—Having told briefly the affecting features of the case, the poor father, half dispiritedby the failure of the disciples and the aggravated virulence of the malady itself in presence of theirMaster, yet encouraged too by what he had heard of Christ, by the severe rebuke He had given toHis disciples for not having faith enough to cure the boy, and by the dignity with which He hadordered him to be brought to Him—in this mixed state of mind, he closes his description of thecase with these touching words:22. but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us—"us," says the father;for it was a sore family affliction. Compare the language of the Syrophoenician woman regardingher daughter, "Lord, help me." Still nothing is done: the man is but struggling into faith: it mustcome a step farther. But he had to do with Him who breaks not the bruised reed, and who knewhow to inspire what He demanded. The man had said to Him, "If Thou canst do."23. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe—The man had said, "If Thou canst do anything."Jesus replies.2009JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonall things are possible to him that believeth—"My doing all depends on thy believing." Toimpress this still more, He redoubles upon the believing: "If thou canst believe, all things are possibleto him that believeth." Thus the Lord helps the birth of faith in that struggling soul; and now, thoughwith pain and sore travail, it comes to the birth, as Trench, borrowing from Olshausen, expresses it.Seeing the case stood still, waiting not upon the Lord's power but his own faith, the man becomesimmediately conscious of conflicting principles, and rises into one of the noblest utterances onrecord.24. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe:help thou mine unbelief—that is, "It is useless concealing from Thee, O Thou mysterious, mightyHealer, the unbelief that still struggles in this heart of mine; but that heart bears me witness that Ido believe in Thee; and if distrust still remains, I disown it, I wrestle with it, I seek help from Theeagainst it." Two things are very remarkable here: First, The felt and owned presence of unbelief,which only the strength of the man's faith could have so revealed to his own consciousness. Second,His appeal to Christ for help against his felt unbelief—a feature in the case quite unparalleled, andshowing, more than all protestations could have done, the insight he had attained into the existenceof a power in Christ more glorious them any he had besought for his poor child. The work wasdone; and as the commotion and confusion in the crowd was now increasing, Jesus at once, as Lordof spirits, gives the word of command to the dumb and deaf spirit to be gone, never again to returnto his victim.26. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him; and he was as one dead;insomuch that many said, He is dead—The malignant, cruel spirit, now conscious that his timewas come, gathers up his whole strength, with intent by a last stroke to kill his victim, and hadnearly succeeded. But the Lord of life was there; the Healer of all maladies, the Friend of sinners,the Seed of the woman, "the Stronger than the strong man armed," was there. The very faith whichChrist declared to be enough for everything being now found, it was not possible that the serpentshould prevail. Fearfully is he permitted to bruise the heel, as in this case; but his own head shallgo for it—his works shall be destroyed (1Jo 3:8).27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.28. Why could not we cast him out?29. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer andfasting—that is, as nearly all good interpreters are agreed, "this kind of evil spirits cannot beexpelled," or "so desperate a case of demoniacal possession cannot be cured, but by prayer andfasting." But since the Lord Himself says that His disciples could not fast while He was with them,perhaps this was designed, as Alford hints, for their after-guidance—unless we take it as but a definiteway of expressing the general truth, that great and difficult duties require special preparation andself-denial. But the answer to their question, as given in Mt 17:20, 21 is fuller: "And Jesus saidunto them, Because of your unbelief. For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustardseed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; andnothing shall be impossible unto you" (Mt 17:20). See on Mr 11:23. "Howbeit this kind goeth notout but by prayer and fasting" (Mt 17:21), that is, though nothing is impossible to faith, yet such aheight of faith as is requisite for such triumphs is not to be reached either in a moment or withouteffort—either with God in prayer or with ourselves in self-denying exercises. Luke (Lu 9:43) adds,"And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God"—"at the majesty" or "mightiness of God,"2010JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonin this last miracle, in the Transfiguration, &c.; or, at the divine grandeur of Christ rising uponthem daily.Second Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Death and Resurrection (Mr 9:30-32).30. And they departed thence, and passed—were passing along.through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it—By comparing Mt 17:22,23 and Lu 9:43, 44 with this, we gather, that as our Lord's reason for going through Galilee moreprivately than usual on this occasion was to reiterate to them the announcement which had soshocked them at the first mention of it, and thus familiarize them with it by little and little, so thiswas His reason for enjoining silence upon them as to their present movements.31. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them—"Let these sayings sink down into yourears" (Lu 9:44); not what had been passing between them as to His grandeur, but what He was nowto utter.The Son of man is delivered—The use of the present tense expresses how near at hand Hewould have them to consider it. As Bengel says, steps were already in course of being taken to bringit about.into the hands of men—This remarkable antithesis, "the Son of man shall be delivered intothe hands of men," it is worthy of notice, is in all the three Evangelists.and they shall kill him—that is, "Be not carried off your feet by all that grandeur of Minewhich ye have lately witnessed, but bear in mind what I have already told you and now distinctlyrepeat, that that Sun in whose beams ye now rejoice is soon to set in midnight gloom."and after he is killed, he shall rise the third day.32. But they understood not that saying—"and it was hid from them, [so] that they preceivedit not" (Lu 9:45).and were afraid to ask him—Their most cherished ideas were so completely dashed by suchannouncements, that they were afraid of laying themselves open to rebuke by asking Him anyquestions. But "they were exceeding sorry" (Mt 17:23). While the other Evangelists, as Webster andWilkinson remark, notice their ignorance and their fear, Matthew, who was one of them, retains avivid recollection of their sorrow.Mr 9:33-50. Strife among the Twelve Who Should Be Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, with RelativeTeaching—Incidental Rebuke of John for Exclusiveness. ( = Mt 18:1-9; Lu 9:46-50).Strife among the Twelve, with Relative Teaching (Mr 9:33-37).33. What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?—From this we gather thatafter the painful communication He had made to them, the Redeemer had allowed them to travelso much of the way by themselves; partly, no doubt, that He might have privacy for Himself todwell on what lay before Him, and partly that they might be induced to weigh together and preparethemselves for the terrible events which He had announced to them. But if so, how different wastheir occupation!34. But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, whoshould be the greatest—From Mt 18:1 we should infer that the subject was introduced, not by ourLord, but by the disciples themselves, who came and asked Jesus who should be greatest. Perhapsone or two of them first referred the matter to Jesus, who put them off till they should all beassembled together at Capernaum. He had all the while "perceived the thought of their heart" (Lu9:47); but now that they were all together "in the house," He questions them about it, and they areput to the blush, conscious of the temper towards each other which it had kindled. This raised the2011JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwhole question afresh, and at this point our Evangelist takes it up. The subject was suggested bythe recent announcement of the Kingdom (Mt 16:19-28), the transfiguration of their Master, andespecially the preference given to three of them at that scene.35. If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all—that is,"let him be" such: he must be prepared to take the last and lowest place. See on Mr 10:42-45.36. And he took a child—"a little child" (Mt 18:2); but the word is the same in both places,as also in Lu 9:47.and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms—This beautifultrait is mentioned by out Evangelist alone.he said unto them—Here we must go to Matthew (Mt 18:3, 4) for the first of this answer:"Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter intothe kingdom of Heaven:" that is, "Conversion must be thorough; not only must the heart be turnedto God in general, and from earthly to heavenly things, but in particular, except ye be convertedfrom that carnal ambition which still rankles within you, into that freedom from all such feelingswhich ye see in this child, ye have neither part nor lot in the kingdom at all; and he who in thisfeature has most of the child, is highest there." Whosoever, therefore, shall "humble himself as thislittle child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven": "for he that is [willing to be] least amongyou all, the same shall be great" (Lu 9:48).37. Whosoever shall receive one of such children—so manifesting the spirit unconsciouslydisplayed by this child.in my name—from love to Me.receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but Him that sent me—(Seeon Mt 10:40).Incidental Rebuke of John for Exclusiveness (Mr 9:38-41).38. And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name,and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us—The link ofconnection here with the foregoing context lies, we apprehend, in the emphatic words which ourLord had just uttered, "in My name." "Oh," interposes John—young, warm, but not sufficientlyapprehending Christ's teaching in these matters—"that reminds me of something that we have justdone, and we should like to know if we did right. We saw one casting out devils "in Thy name,"and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. Were we right, or were we wrong?" Answer—"Yewere wrong." "But we did it because he followeth not us." "No matter."39. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in myname, that can lightly speak evil of me—soon, that is, readily "speak evil of me."40. For he that is not against us is on our part—Two principles of immense importance arehere laid down: "First, No one will readily speak evil of Me who has the faith to do a miracle inMy name; and second, If such a person cannot be supposed to be against us, ye are to consider himfor us." Let it be carefully observed that our Lord does not say this man should not have "followedthem," nor yet that it was indifferent whether he did or not; but simply teaches how such a personwas to be regarded, although he did not—namely, as a reverer of His name and a promoter of Hiscause.41. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belongto Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward—(See on Mt 10:42).Continuation of Teaching Suggested by the Disciples' Strife (Mr 9:42-50).2012JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonWhat follows appears to have no connection with the incidental reproof of John immediatelypreceding. As that had interrupted some important teaching, our Lord hastens back from it, as ifno such interruption had occurred.42. For whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me—or, shall causethem to stumble; referring probably to the effect which such unsavory disputes as they had heldwould have upon the inquiring and hopeful who came in contact with them, leading to the beliefthat after all they were no better than others.it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck—The word here is simply"millstone," without expressing of which kind. But in Mt 18:6 it is the "ass-turned" kind, far heavierthan the small hand-mill turned by female slaves, as in Lu 17:35. It is of course the same which ismeant here.and he were cast into the sea—meaning, that if by such a death that stumbling were prevented,and so its eternal consequences averted, it would be a happy thing for them. Here follows a strikingverse in Mt 18:7, "Woe unto the world because of offences!" (There will be stumblings and fallsand loss of souls enough from the world's treatment of disciples, without any addition from you:dreadful will be its doom in consequence; see that ye share not in it). "For it must needs be thatoffences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (The struggle between lightand darkness will inevitably cause stumblings, but not less guilty is he who wilfully makes any tostumble).43. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed,than having two hands to go into hell—See Mt 5:29, 30. The only difference between the wordsthere and here is that there they refer to impure inclinations; here, to an ambitious disposition, anirascible or quarrelsome temper, and the like: and the injunction is to strike at the root of suchdispositions and cut off the occasions of them.47. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdomof God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire—On the words "hell" and"hell-fire," or "the hell of fire," see on Mt 5:22.48. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched—See on Mt 5:30; The"unquenchablesness" of this fire has already been brought before us (see on Mt 3:12); and theawfully vivid idea of an undying worm, everlastingly consuming an unconsumable body, is takenfrom the closing words of the evangelical prophet (Isa 66:24), which seem to have furnished thelater Jewish Church with its current phraseology on the subject of future punishment (see Lightfoot).49. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt—Adifficult verse, on which much has been written—some of it to little purpose. "Every one" probablymeans "Every follower of mine"; and the "fire" with which he "must be salted" probably means "afiery trial" to season him. (Compare Mal 3:2, &c.). The reference to salting the sacrifice is of courseto that maxim of the Levitical law, that every acceptable sacrifice must be sprinkled with salt, toexpress symbolically its soundness, sweetness, wholesomeness, acceptability. But as it had to beroasted first, we have here the further idea of a salting with fire. In this case, "every sacrifice," inthe next clause, will mean, "Every one who would be found an acceptable offering to God"; andthus the whole verse may perhaps be paraphrased as follows: "Every disciple of Mine shall havea fiery trial to undergo, and everyone who would be found an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrificeacceptable and well-pleasing to God, must have such a salting, like the Levitical sacrifices." Another,but, as it seems to us, farfetched as well as harsh, interpretation—suggested first, we believe, by2013JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonMichaelis, and adopted by Alexander—takes the "every sacrifice which must be salted with fire" tomean those who are "cast into hell," and the preservative effect of this salting to refer to thepreservation of the lost not only in but by means of the fire of hell. Their reason for this is that theother interpretation changes the meaning of the "fire," and the characters too, from the lost to thesaved, in these verses. But as our Lord confessedly ends His discourse with the case of His owntrue disciples, the transition to them in Mr 9:48 is perfectly natural; whereas to apply the preservativesalt of the sacrifice to the preserving quality of hell-fire, is equally contrary to the symbolical senseof salt and the Scripture representations of future torment. Our Lord has still in His eye the unseemlyjarrings which had arisen among the Twelve, the peril to themselves of allowing any indulgenceto such passions, and the severe self-sacrifice which salvation would cost them.50. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost his saltness—its power to season what it is broughtinto contact with.wherewith will ye season it?—How is this property to be restored? See on Mt 5:13.Have salt in yourselves—See to it that ye retain in yourselves those precious qualities that willmake you a blessing to one another, and to all around you.and—with respect to the miserable strife out of which all this discourse has sprung, in oneconcluding word.have peace one with another—This is repeated in 1Th 5:13.CHAPTER 10Mr 10:1-12. Final Departure from Galilee—Divorce. ( = Mt 19:1-12; Lu 9:51).See on Mt 19:1-12.Mr 10:13-16. Little Children Brought to Christ. ( = Mt 19:13-15; Lu 18:15-17).See on Lu 18:15-17.Mr 10:17-31. The Rich Young Ruler. ( = Mt 19:16-30; Lu 18:18-30).See on Lu 18:18-30.Mr 10:32-45. Third Explicit and Still Fuller Announcement of His Approaching Sufferings, Death, andResurrection—The Ambitious Request of James and John, and the Reply. ( = Mt 20:17-28; Lu 18:31-34).Third Announcement of His approaching Sufferings, Death, and Resurrection (Mr 10:32-34).32. And they were in the way—on the road.going up to Jerusalem—in Perea, and probably somewhere between Ephraim and Jericho, onthe farther side of the Jordan, and to the northeast of Jerusalem.and Jesus went before them—as Grotius says, in the style of an intrepid Leader.and they were amazed—or "struck with astonishment" at His courage in advancing to certaindeath.and as they followed, they were afraid—for their own safety. These artless, lifeliketouches—not only from an eye-witness, but one whom the noble carriage of the Master struck withwonder and awe—are peculiar to Mark, and give the second Gospel a charm all its own; makingus feel as if we ourselves were in the midst of the scenes it describes. Well might the poet exclaim:"The Saviour, what a noble flameWas kindled in His breast,When, hasting to Jerusalem,2014JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonHe march'd before the rest!"CowperAnd he took again the twelve—referring to His previous announcements on this sad subject.and began to tell them what things should happen unto him—"were going to befall Him."The word expresses something already begun but not brought to a head, rather than somethingwholly future.33. Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem—for the last time, and—"all things that are writtenby the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished" (Lu 18:31).the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and theyshall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles—This is the first expressstatement that the Gentiles would combine with the Jews in His death; the two grand divisions ofthe human race for whom He died thus taking part in crucifying the Lord of Glory, as Webster andWilkinson observe.34. And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shallkill him: and the third day he shall rise again—Singularly explicit as this announcement was,Luke (Lu 18:34) says "they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them,neither knew they the things which were spoken." The meaning of the words they could be at noloss to understand, but their import in relation to His Messianic kingdom they could not penetrate;the whole prediction being right in the teeth of their preconceived notions. That they should haveclung so tenaciously to the popular notion of an "unsuffering" Messiah, may surprise us; but itgives inexpressible weight to their after-testimony to a suffering and dying Saviour.Ambitious Request of James and John—The Reply (Mr 10:35-45).35. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying—Matthew (Mt 20:20)says their "mother came to Him with her sons, worshipping Him and desiring," &c. (Compare Mt27:56, with Mr 15:40). Salome was her name (Mr 16:1). We cannot be sure with which of theparties the movement originated; but as our Lord, even in Matthew's account, addresses Himselfto James and John, taking no account of the mother, it is likely the mother was merely set on bythem. The thought was doubtless suggested to her sons by the recent promise to the Twelve of"thrones to sit on, when the Son of man should sit on the throne of His glory" (Mt 19:28); but afterthe reproof so lately given them (Mr 9:33, &c.) they get their mother to speak for them.Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire—thus cautiouslyapproaching the subject.36. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?—Though well awarewhat was in their mind and their mother's, our Lord will have the unseemly petition uttered beforeall.37. Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand,in thy glory—that is, Assign to us the two places of highest honor in the coming kingdom. Thesemblance of a plea for so presumptuous a request might possibly have been drawn from the factthat one of the two usually leaned on the breast of Jesus, or sat next Him at meals, while the otherwas one of the favored three.38. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask—How gentle the reply to such arequest, preferred at such a time, after the sad announcement just made!2015JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncan ye drink of the cup that I drink of?—To "drink of a cup" is in Scripture a figure forgetting one's fill either of good (Ps 16:5; 23:5; 116:13; Jer 16:7) or of ill (Ps 75:8; Joh 18:11; Re14:10). Here it is the cup of suffering.and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?—(Compare for the language,Ps 42:7). The object of this question seems to have been to try how far those two men were capableof the dignity to which they aspired and this on the principle that he who is able to suffer most forHis sake will be the nearest to Him in His kingdom.39. And they said unto him, We can—Here we see them owning their mother's petition forthem as their own; and doubtless they were perfectly sincere in professing their willingness tofollow their Master to any suffering He might have to endure. As for James, he was the first of theapostles who was honored, and showed himself able to be baptized with his Master's baptism ofblood (Ac 12:1, 2); while John, after going through all the persecutions to which the infant Churchwas exposed from the Jews, and sharing in the struggles and sufferings occasioned by the firsttriumphs of the Gospel among the Gentiles, lived to be the victim, after all the rest had got to glory,of a bitter persecution in the evening of his days, for the word of God and for the testimony of JesusChrist. Yes, they were dear believers and blessed men, in spite of this unworthy ambition, and theirLord knew it; and perhaps the foresight of what they would have to pass through, and the courageoustestimony He would yet receive from them, was the cause of that gentleness which we cannot butwonder at in His reproof.And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with thebaptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized—No doubt this prediction, when theirsufferings at length came upon them, cheered them with the assurance, not that they would sit onHis right and left hand—for of that thought they would be heartily ashamed—but that "if theysuffered with Him, they should be also glorified together."40. But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand in not mine to give; but it shall begiven to them for whom it is prepared—"of My Father" (Mt 20:23). The supplement which ourtranslators have inserted is approved by some good interpreters, and the proper sense of the wordrendered "but" is certainly in favor of it. But besides that it makes the statement tooelliptical—leaving too many words to be supplied—it seems to make our Lord repudiate the rightto assign to each of His people his place in the kingdom of glory; a thing which He nowhere elsedoes, but rather the contrary. It is true that He says their place is "prepared for them by His Father."But that is true of their admission to heaven at all; and yet from His great white throne Jesus willHimself adjudicate the kingdom, and authoritatively invite into it those on His right hand, callingthem the "blessed of His Father"; so little inconsistency is there between the eternal choice of themby His Father, and that public adjudication of them, not only to heaven in general, but each to hisown position in it, which all Scripture assigns to Christ. The true rendering, then, of this clause,we take it, is this: "But to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give, save tothem for whom it is prepared." When therefore He says, "It is not Mine to give," the meaning is,"I cannot give it as a favor to whomsoever I please, or on a principle of favoritism; it belongsexclusively to those for whom it is prepared," &c. And if this be His meaning, it will be seen howfar our Lord is from disclaiming the right to assign to each his proper place in His Kingdom; thaton the contrary, He expressly asserts it, merely announcing that the principle of distribution is quitedifferent from what these petitioners supposed. Our Lord, it will be observed, does not deny thepetition of James and John, or say they shall not occupy the place in His kingdom which they now2016JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonimproperly sought:—for aught we know, that may be their true place. All we are sure of is, thattheir asking it was displeasing to Him "to whom all judgment is committed," and so was not fittedto gain their object, but just the reverse. (See what is taught in Lu 14:8-11). One at least of thesebrethren, as Alford strikingly remarks, saw on the right and on the left hand of their Lord, as Hehung upon the tree, the crucified thieves; and bitter indeed must have been the remembrance ofthis ambitious prayer at that moment.41. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John—or"were moved with indignation," as the same word is rendered in Mt 20:24. The expression "beganto be," which is of frequent occurrence in the Gospels, means that more passed than is expressed,and that we have but the result. And can we blame the ten for the indignation which they felt? Yetthere was probably a spice of the old spirit of rivalry in it, which in spite of our Lord's recentlengthened, diversified, and most solemn warnings against it, had not ceased to stir in their breasts.42. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which areaccounted to rule—are recognized or acknowledged as rulers.over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them: and their great ones exercise authorityupon them—as superiors exercising an acknowledged authority over inferiors.43. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be yourminister—a subordinate servant.44. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest—or "first."shall be—that is, "let him be," or "shall be he who is prepared to be."servant of all—one in the lowest condition of service.45. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to givehis life a ransom for many—"instead of many," that is, "In the kingdom about to be set up, thisprinciple shall have no place. All My servants shall there be equal; and the only greatness knownto it shall be the greatness of humility and devotedness to the service of others. He that goes downthe deepest in these services of self-denying humility shall rise the highest and hold the chiefestplace in that kingdom; even as the Son of man, whose abasement and self-sacrifice for others,transcending all, gives Him of right a place above all!" As "the Word in the beginning with God,"He was ministered unto; and as the risen Redeemer in our nature He now is ministered unto, "angelsand authorities and powers being made subject unto Him" (1Pe 3:22); but not for this came Hehither. The Served of all came to be the Servant of all; and His last act was the grandest Serviceever beheld by the universe of God—"He Gave His Life a Ransom for Many!", &c. "Many" is here to betaken, not in contrast with few or with all, but in opposition to one—the one Son of man for themany sinners.Mr 10:46-52. Blind Bartimaeus Healed. ( = Mt 20:29-34; Lu 18:35-43).See on Lu 18:35-43.CHAPTER 11Mr 11:1-11. Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, on the First Day of the Week. ( = Mt 21:1-9; Lu 19:29-40;Joh 12:12, 19).See on Lu 19:29-40.2017JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonMr 11:11-26. The Barren Fig Tree Cursed with Lessons from It—Second Cleansing of the Temple, on the Secondand Third Days of the Week. ( = Mt 21:12-22; Lu 19:45-48).11. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked roundabout upon—surveyed.all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out into Bethany with the twelve—Thusbriefly does our Evangelist dispose of this His first day in Jerusalem, after the triumphal entry. Nordo the Third and Fourth Gospels give us more light. But from Matthew (Mt 21:10, 11, 14-16) welearn some additional and precious particulars, for which see on Lu 19:45-48. It was not now safefor the Lord to sleep in the city, nor, from the day of His Triumphal Entry, did He pass one nightin it, save the last fatal one.The Barren Fig Tree Cursed (Mr 11:12-14).12. And on the morrow—The Triumphal Entry being on the first day of the week, this followingday was Monday.when they were come from Bethany—"in the morning" (Mt 21:18).he was hungry—How was that? Had he stolen forth from that dear roof at Bethany to the"mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God?" (Lu 6:12); or, "in the morning," ason a former occasion, "risen up a great while before day, and departed into a solitary place, andthere prayed" (Mr 1:35); not breaking His fast thereafter, but bending His steps straight for the city,that He might "work the works of Him that sent Him while it was day?" (Joh 9:4). We know not,though one lingers upon and loves to trace out the every movement of that life of wonders. Onething, however we are sure of—it was real bodily hunger which He now sought to allay by the fruitof this fig tree, "if haply He might find any thing thereon"; not a mere scene for the purpose ofteaching a lesson, as some early heretics maintained, and some still seem virtually to hold.13. And seeing a fig tree—(In Mt 21:19, it is "one fig tree," but the sense is the same as here,"a certain fig tree," as in Mt 8:19, &c.). Bethphage, which adjoined Bethany, derives its name fromits being a fig region—"House of figs."afar off having leaves—and therefore promising fruit, which in the case of figs come beforethe leaves.he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he foundnothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet—What the precise import of this explanationis, interpreters are not agreed. Perhaps all that is meant is, that as the proper fig season had notarrived, no fruit would have been expected even of this tree but for the leaves which it had, whichwere in this case prematurely and unnaturally developed.14. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever—Thatword did not make the tree barren, but sealed it up in its own barrenness. See on Mt 13:13-15.And his disciples heard it—and marked the saying. This is introduced as a connecting link,to explain what was afterwards to be said on the subject, as the narrative has to proceed to the othertransactions of this day.Second Cleansing of the Temple (Mr 11:15-18).For the exposition of this portion, see on Lu 19:45-48.Lessons from the Cursing of the Fig Tree (Mr 11:20-26).20. And in the morning—of Tuesday, the third day of the week: He had slept, as during allthis week, at Bethany.as they passed by—going into Jerusalem again.2018JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthey saw the fig tree dried up from the roots—no partial blight, leaving life in the root; butit was now dead, root and branch. In Mt 21:19 it is said it withered away as soon as it was cursed.But the full blight had not appeared probably at once; and in the dusk perhaps, as they returned toBethany, they had not observed it. The precision with which Mark distinguishes the days is notobserved by Matthew, intent only on holding up the truths which the incident was designed to teach.In Matthew the whole is represented as taking place at once, just as the two stages of Jairus'daughter—dying and dead—are represented by him as one. The only difference is between a moresummary and a more detailed narrative, each of which only confirms the other.21. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him—satisfied that a miracle so verypeculiar—a miracle, not of blessing, as all His other miracles, but of cursing—could not have beenwrought but with some higher reference, and fully expecting to hear something weighty on thesubject.Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away—so connecting the twothings as to show that he traced the death of the tree entirely to the curse of his Lord. Matthew (Mt21:20) gives this simply as a general exclamation of surprise by the disciples "how soon" the blighthad taken effect.22. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.23. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thouremoved … he shall have whatsoever he saith—Here is the lesson now. From the nature of thecase supposed—that they might wish a mountain removed and cast into the sea, a thing far removedfrom anything which they could be thought actually to desire—it is plain that not physical but moralobstacles to the progress of His kingdom were in the Redeemer's view, and that what He designedto teach was the great lesson, that no obstacle should be able to stand before a confiding faith inGod.24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that yereceive them, and ye shall have them—This verse only generalizes the assurance of Mr 11:23;which seems to show that it was designed for the special encouragement of evangelistic andmissionary efforts, while this is a directory for prevailing prayer in general.25. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Fatheralso which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses, &c.—This is repeated from the Sermonon the Mount (see on Mt 6:12); to remind them that if this was necessary to the acceptableness ofall prayer, much more when great things were to be asked and confidently expected.Mr 11:27-33. The Authority of Jesus Questioned—His Reply. ( = Mt 21:23-27; Lu 20:1-8).See on Mt 21:23-27.CHAPTER 12Mr 12:1-12. Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. ( = Mt 21:33-46; Lu 20:9-18).See on Mt 21:33-46.Mr 12:13-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with theReplies—Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David, and Denounces the Scribes. ( = Mt 22:15-46; Lu20:20-47).2019JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonThe time of this section appears to be still the third day (Tuesday) of Christ's last week. Matthewintroduces the subject by saying (Mt 22:15), "Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how theymight entangle Him in His talk."13. And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees—"their disciples," says Matthew (Mt22:16); probably young and zealous scholars in that hardening school.and of the Herodians—(See on Mt 12:14). In Lu 20:20 these willing tools are called "spies,which should feign themselves just [righteous] men, that they might take hold of His words, thatso they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor." Their plan, then, was toentrap Him into some expression which might be construed into disaffection to the Romangovernment; the Pharisees themselves being notoriously discontented with the Roman yoke.Tribute to Cæsar (Mr 12:14-17).14. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master—Teacher.we know that thou art true, and carest for no man; for thou regardest not the person ofmen, but teachest the way of God in truth—By such flattery—though they said only thetruth—they hoped to throw Him off His guard.Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?—It was the civil poll tax paid by all enrolled inthe "census." See on Mt 17:25.15. Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy—"their wickedness"(Mt 22:18); "their craftiness" (Lu 20:23). The malignity of their hearts took the form of craft,pretending what they did not feel—an anxious desire to be guided aright in a matter which to ascrupulous few might seem a question of some difficulty. Seeing perfectly through this,He said unto them, Why tempt ye me?—"hypocrites!"bring me a penny that I may see it—"the tribute money" (Mt 22:19).16. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image—stamped upon thecoin.and superscription?—the words encircling it on the obverse side.And they said unto him, Cæsar's.17. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that areCæsar's—Putting it in this general form, it was impossible for sedition itself to dispute it, and yetit dissolved the snare.and to God the things that are God's—How much is there in this profound but to themstartling addition to the maxim, and how incomparable is the whole for fulness, brevity, clearness,weight!and they marvelled at him—"at His answer, and held their peace" (Lu 20:26), "and left Him,and went their way" (Mt 22:22).The Resurrection (Mr 12:18-27).18. Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection—"neither angelnor spirit" (Ac 23:7). They were the materialists of the day. See on Ac 23:6.and they asked him, saying—as follows:19-22. Master, Moses wrote unto us—(De 25:5).If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him … And the seven had her, and left noseed: last of all the woman died also.23. In the resurrection therefore when they shall rise, &c.24. Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures—regarding the future state.2020JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonneither the power of God?—before which a thousand such difficulties vanish.25. For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given inmarriage—"neither can they die any more" (Lu 20:36). Marriage is ordained to perpetuate thehuman family; but as there will be no breaches by death in the future state, this ordinance willcease.but are as the angels which are in heaven—In Luke (Lu 20:36) it is "equal unto the angels."But as the subject is death and resurrection, we are not warranted to extend the equality here taughtbeyond the one point—the immortality of their nature. A beautiful clause is added in Luke (Lu20:36)—"and are the children of God"—not in respect of character, which is not here spoken of,but of nature—"being the children of the resurrection," as rising to an undecaying existence (Ro8:21, 23), and so being the children of their Father's immortality (1Ti 6:16).26. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses—"evenMoses" (Lu 20:37), whom they had just quoted for the purpose of entangling Him.how in the bush God spake unto him—either "at the bush," as the same expression is renderedin Lu 20:37, that is, when he was there; or "in the [section of his history regarding the] bush." Thestructure of our verse suggests the latter sense, which is not unusual.saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?—(Ex 3:6).27. He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living—not "the God of dead but [theGod] of living persons." The word in brackets is almost certainly an addition to the genuine text,and critical editors exclude it. "For all live unto Him" (Lu 20:38)—"in His view," or "in Hisestimation." This last statement—found only in Luke—though adding nothing to the argument, isan important additional illustration. It is true, indeed, that to God no human being is dead or everwill be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him; but the "all" here means"those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world." These sustain a gracious covenantrelation to God which cannot be dissolved. (Compare Ro 6:10, 11). In this sense our Lord affirmsthat for Moses to call the Lord the "God" of His patriarchal servants, if at that moment they had noexistence, would be unworthy of Him. He "would be ashamed to be called their God, if He had notprepared for them a city" (Heb 11:16). It was concluded by some of the early Fathers, from ourLord's resting His proof of the Resurrection on such a passage as this, instead of quoting somemuch clearer testimonies of the Old Testament, that the Sadducees, to whom this was addressed,acknowledged the authority of no part of the Old Testament but the Pentateuch; and this opinionhas held its ground even till now. But as there is no ground for it in the New Testament, so Josephusis silent upon it; merely saying that they rejected the Pharisaic traditions. It was because thePentateuch was regarded by all classes as the fundamental source of the Hebrew religion, and allthe succeeding books of the Old Testament but as developments of it, that our Lord would showthat even there the doctrine of the Resurrection was taught. And all the rather does He select thispassage, as being not a bare annunciation of the doctrine in question, but as expressive of thatglorious truth out of which the Resurrection springs. "And when the multitude heard this" (saysMt 22:23), "they were astonished at His doctrine." "Then," adds Lu 20:39, 40, "certain of the scribesanswering said, Master, thou hast well said"—enjoying His victory over the Sadducees. "And afterthat they durst not ask Him any [question at all]"—neither party could; both being for the timeutterly foiled.The Great Commandment (Mr 12:28-34).2021JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson"But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gatheredtogether" (Mt 22:34).28. And one of the scribes—"a lawyer," says Matthew (Mt 22:35); that is, teacher of the law.came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answeredthem well, asked him—manifestly in no bad spirit. When Matthew (Mt 22:35) therefore says hecame "tempting," or "trying him," as one of the Pharisaic party who seemed to enjoy the defeat Hehad given to the Sadducees, we may suppose that though somewhat priding himself upon his insightinto the law, and not indisposed to measure his knowledge with One in whom he had not yet learnedto believe, he was nevertheless an honest-hearted, fair disputant.Which is the first commandment of all?—first in importance; the primary, leadingcommandment, the most fundamental one. This was a question which, with some others, dividedthe Jewish teachers into rival schools. Our Lord's answer is in a strain of respect very different fromwhat He showed to cavillers—ever observing His own direction, "Give not that which is holy tothe dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine; lest they trample them under their feet, and turnagain and rend you" (Mt 7:6).29. And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is—The readings here varyconsiderably. Tischendorf and Tregelles read simply, "the first is"; and they are followed by Meyer andAlford. But though the authority for the precise form of the received text is slender, a form almostidentical with it seems to have most weight of authority. Our Lord here gives His explicit sanctionto the distinction between commandments of a more fundamental and primary character, andcommandments of a more dependent and subordinate nature; a distinction of which it is confidentlyasserted by a certain class of critics that the Jews knew nothing, that our Lord and His apostlesnowhere lay down, and which has been invented by Christian divines. (Compare Mt 23:23).Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord—This every devout Jew recited twice everyday, and the Jews do it to this day; thus keeping up the great ancient national protest against thepolytheisms and pantheisms of the heathen world: it is the great utterance of the national faith inOne Living and Personal God—"One Jehovah!"30. And thou shalt—We have here the language of law, expressive of God's claims. What thenare we here bound down to do? One word is made to express it. And what a word! Had the essenceof the divine law consisted in deeds, it could not possibly have been expressed in a single word;for no one deed is comprehensive of all others embraced in the law. But as it consists in an affectionof the soul, one word suffices to express it—but only one. Fear, though due to God and enjoinedby Him, is limited in its sphere and distant in character. Trust, hope, and the like, though essentialfeatures of a right state of heart towards God, are called into action only by personal necessity, andso are—in a good sense, it is true, but still are properly—selfish affections; that is to say, they haverespect to our own well-being. But LOVE is an all-inclusive affection, embracing not only everyother affection proper to its object, but all that is proper to be done to its object; for as lovespontaneously seeks to please its object, so, in the case of men to God, it is the native well springof a voluntary obedience. It is, besides, the most personal of all affections. One may fear an event,one may hope for an event, one may rejoice in an event; but one can love only a Person. It is thetenderest, the most unselfish, the most divine of all affections. Such, then, is the affection in whichthe essence of the divine law is declared to consist.Thou shalt love—We now come to the glorious Object of that demanded affection.2022JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonThou shalt love the Lord, thy God—that is, Jehovah, the Self-Existent One, who has revealedHimself as the "I Am," and there is none else; who, though by His name Jehovah apparently at anunapproachable distance from His finite creatures, yet bears to Thee a real and definite relationship,out of which arises His claim and Thy duty—of LOVE. But with what are we to love Him? Fourthings are here specified. First, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God"with thy heart—This sometimes means "the whole inner man" (as Pr 4:23); but that cannotbe meant here; for then the other three particulars would be superfluous. Very often it means "ouremotional nature"—the seat of feeling as distinguished from our intellectual nature or the seat ofthought, commonly called the "mind" (as in Php 4:7). But neither can this be the sense of it here;for here the heart is distinguished both from the "mind" and the "soul." The "heart," then, must heremean the sincerity of both the thoughts and the feelings; in other words, uprightness ortrue-heartedness, as opposed to a hypocritical or divided affection. But next, "Thou shalt love theLord thy God" with thy soul. This is designed to command our emotional nature: Thou shalt putfeeling or warmth into thine affection. Further, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God"with thy mind—This commands our intellectual nature: Thou shalt put intelligence into thineaffection—in opposition to a blind devotion, or mere devoteeism. Lastly, "Thou shalt love the Lordthy God"with thy strength—This commands our energies: Thou shalt put intensity into thineaffection—"Do it with thy might" (Ec 9:10). Taking these four things together, the command ofthe Law is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy powers—with a sincere, a fervid, anintelligent, an energetic love." But this is not all that the Law demands. God will have all thesequalities in their most perfect exercise. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," says the Law, "withall thy heart," or, with perfect sincerity; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul," or,with the utmost fervor; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind," or, in the fullestexercise of an enlightened reason; and "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength,"or, with the whole energy of our being! So much for the First Commandment.31. And the second is like—"unto it" (Mt 22:39); as demanding the same affection, and onlythe extension of it, in its proper measure, to the creatures of Him whom we thus love—our brethrenin the participation of the same nature, and neighbors, as connected with us by ties that render eachdependent upon and necessary to the other.Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself—Now, as we are not to love ourselves supremely,this is virtually a command, in the first place, not to love our neighbor with all our heart and souland mind and strength. And thus it is a condemnation of the idolatry of the creature. Our supremeand uttermost affection is to be reserved for God. But as sincerely as ourselves we are to love allmankind, and with the same readiness to do and suffer for them as we should reasonably desirethem to show to us. The golden rule (Mt 7:12) is here our best interpreter of the nature and extentof these claims.There is none other commandment greater than these—or, as in Mt 22:40, "On these twocommandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (see on Mt 5:17). It is as if He had said, "Thisis all Scripture in a nutshell; the whole law of human duty in a portable, pocket form." Indeed, itis so simple that a child may understand it, so brief that all may remember it, so comprehensive asto embrace all possible cases. And from its very nature it is unchangeable. It is inconceivable thatGod should require from his rational creatures anything less, or in substance anything else, underany dispensation, in any world, at any period throughout eternal duration. He cannot but claim2023JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthis—all this—alike in heaven, in earth, and in hell! And this incomparable summary of the divinelaw belonged to the Jewish religion! As it shines in its own self-evidencing splendor, so it revealsits own true source. The religion from which the world has received it could be none other than aGod-given religion!32. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master—Teacher.thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he—The genuinetext here seems clearly to have been, "There is one," without the word "God"; and so nearly allcritical editors and expositors read.33. And to love him with all the heart … and to love his neighbour as himself, is morethan all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices—more, that is, than all positive institutions; therebyshowing insight into the essential difference between what is moral and in its own natureunchangeable, and what is obligatory only because enjoined, and only so long as enjoined.34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly—rather, "intelligently," or "sensibly";not only in a good spirit, but with a promising measure of insight into spiritual things.he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God—for he had but to follow outa little further what he seemed sincerely to own, to find his way into the kingdom. He needed onlythe experience of another eminent scribe who at a later period said, "We know that the law isspiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin": who exclaimed, "O wretched man that I am! Who shalldeliver me?" but who added, "I thank God through Jesus Christ!" (Ro 7:14, 24, 25). Perhaps amongthe "great company of the priests" and other Jewish ecclesiastics who "were obedient to the faith,"almost immediately after the day of Pentecost (Ac 6:7), this upright lawyer was one. But for all hisnearness to the Kingdom of God, it may be he never entered it.And no man after that durst ask any question—all feeling that they were no match for Him,and that it was vain to enter the lists with Him.Christ Baffles the Pharisees Regarding David (Mr 12:35-37).35. And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple—and "while the Phariseeswere gathered together" (Mt 22:41).How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?—How come they to give it out thatMessiah is to be the son of David? In Matthew (Mt 22:42), Jesus asks them, "What think ye ofChrist?" or of the promised and expected Messiah? "Whose son is He [to be]? They say unto Him,The son of David." The sense is the same. "He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit callHim Lord?" (Mt 22:42, 43).36. For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on myright hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool—(Ps 110:1).37. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?—There isbut one solution of this difficulty. Messiah is at once inferior to David as his son according to theflesh, and superior to him as the Lord of a kingdom of which David is himself a subject, not thesovereign. The human and divine natures of Christ, and the spirituality of His kingdom—of whichthe highest earthly sovereigns are honored if they be counted worthy to be its subjects—furnishthe only key to this puzzle.And the common people—the immense crowd.heard him gladly—"And no man was able to answer Him a word; neither durst any man fromthat day forth ask Him any more questions" (Mt 22:46).The Scribes Denounced (Mr 12:38-40).2024JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson38. And he said unto them in his doctrine—rather, "in His teaching"; implying that this wasbut a specimen of an extended discourse, which Matthew gives in full (Mt 23:1-39). Luke says (Lu20:45) this was "in the audience of all the people said unto His disciples."Beware of the scribes, which love—or like.to go in long clothing—(see on Mt 23:5).and love salutations in the market-places,39. And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms—or positions.at feasts—On this love of distinction, see on Lu 14:7; Mt 6:5.40. Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shallreceive greater damnation—They took advantage of their helpless condition and confidingcharacter to obtain possession of their property, while by their "long prayers" they made thembelieve they were raised far above "filthy lucre." So much the "greater damnation" awaited them.(Compare Mt 23:33). A lifelike description this of the Romish clergy, the true successors of "thescribes."Mr 12:41-44. The Widow's Two Mites. ( = Lu 21:1-4).See on Lu 21:1-4.CHAPTER 13Mr 13:1-37. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for HisSecond Coming. ( = Mt 24:1-51; Lu 21:5-36).Jesus had uttered all His mind against the Jewish ecclesiastics, exposing their character withwithering plainness, and denouncing, in language of awful severity, the judgments of God againstthem for that unfaithfulness to their trust which was bringing ruin upon the nation. He had closedthis His last public discourse (Mt 23:1-39) by a passionate lamentation over Jerusalem, and a solemnfarewell to the temple. "And," says Matthew (Mt 24:1), "Jesus went out and departed from thetemple"—never more to re-enter its precincts, or open His mouth in public teaching. With this actended His public ministry. As He withdrew, says Olshausen, the gracious presence of God left thesanctuary; and the temple, with all its service, and the whole theocratic constitution, was given overto destruction. What immediately followed is, as usual, most minutely and graphically describedby our Evangelist.1. And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him—The otherEvangelists are less definite. "As some spake," says Luke (Lu 21:5); "His disciples came to Him,"says Matthew (Mt 24:2). Doubtless it was the speech of one, the mouthpiece, likely, of others.Master—Teacher.see what manner of stones and what buildings are here—wondering probably, how somassive a pile could be overthrown, as seemed implied in our Lord's last words regarding it. Josephus,who gives a minute account of the wonderful structure, speaks of stones forty cubits long [Warsof the Jews, 5.5.1.] and says the pillars supporting the porches were twenty-five cubits high, all ofone stone, and that of the whitest marble [Wars of the Jews, 5.5.2]. Six days' battering at the walls,during the siege, made no impression upon them [Wars of the Jews, 6.4.1]. Some of theunder-building, yet remaining, and other works, are probably as old as the first temple.2025JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings?—"Ye call Myattention to these things? I have seen them. Ye point to their massive and durable appearance: nowlisten to their fate."there shall not be left—"left here" (Mt 24:2).one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down—Titus ordered the whole city andtemple to be demolished [Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 7.1.1]; Eleazar wished they had all died beforeseeing that holy city destroyed by enemies' hands, and before the temple was so profanely dug up[Wars of the Jews, 7.8.7].3. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple—On their way fromJerusalem to Bethany they would cross Mount Olivet; on its summit He seats Himself, over againstthe temple, having the city all spread out under His eye. How graphically is this set before us byour Evangelist!Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately—The other Evangelists tell usmerely that "the disciples" did so. But Mark not only says that it was four of them, but names them;and they were the first quarternion of the Twelve.4. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these thingsshall be fulfilled?—"and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Theyno doubt looked upon the date of all these things as one and the same, and their notions of the thingsthemselves were as confused as of the times of them. Our Lord takes His own way of meeting theirquestions.Prophecies of the Destruction of Jerusalem (Mr 13:5-31).5. And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:6. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ—(see Mt 24:5)—"and the timedraweth nigh" (Lu 21:8); that is, the time of the kingdom in its full splendor.and shall deceive many—"Go ye not therefore after them" (Lu 21:8). The reference here seemsnot to be to pretended Messiahs, deceiving those who rejected the claims of Jesus, of whom indeedthere were plenty—for our Lord is addressing His own genuine disciples—but to persons pretendingto be Jesus Himself, returned in glory to take possession of His kingdom. This gives peculiar forceto the words, "Go ye not therefore after them."7. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled—(See on Mr13:13, and compare Isa 8:11-14).for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet—In Luke (Lu 21:9), "the end isnot by and by," or "immediately." Worse must come before all is over.8. These are the beginnings of sorrows—"of travail-pangs," to which heavy calamities arecompared. (See Jer 4:31, &c.). The annals of Tacitus tell us how the Roman world was convulsed,before the destruction of Jerusalem, by rival claimants of the imperial purple.9. But take heed to yourselves: for—"before all these things" (Lu 21:12); that is, before thesepublic calamities come.they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten—Theserefer to ecclesiastical proceedings against them.and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings—before civil tribunals next.for my sake, for a testimony against them—rather "unto them"—to give you an opportunityof bearing testimony to Me before them. In the Acts of the Apostles we have the best commentaryon this announcement. (Compare Mt 10:17, 18).2026JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson10. And the gospel must first be published among all nations—"for a witness, and then shallthe end come" (Mt 24:14). God never sends judgment without previous warning; and there can beno doubt that the Jews, already dispersed over most known countries, had nearly all heard theGospel "as a witness," before the end of the Jewish state. The same principle was repeated and willrepeat itself to "the end."11. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand—"Benot anxious beforehand."what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate—"Be not filled with apprehension, in theprospect of such public appearances for Me, lest ye should bring discredit upon My name, nor thinkit necessary to prepare beforehand what ye are to say."but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak,but the Holy Ghost—(See on Mt 10:19, 20.)13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake—Matthew (Mt 24:12) adds thisimportant intimation: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many"—"of the many," or"of the most," that is, of the generality of professed disciples—"shall wax cold." Sad illustrationsof the effect of abounding iniquity in cooling the love even of faithful disciples we have in theEpistle of James, written about the period here referred to, and too frequently ever since.but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved—See on Mt 10:21, 22; andcompare Heb 10:38, 39, which is a manifest allusion to these words of Christ; also Re 2:10. Luke(Lu 21:18) adds these reassuring words: "But there shall not an hair of your heads perish." OurLord had just said (Lu 21:16) that they should be put to death; showing that this precious promiseis far above immunity from mere bodily harm, and furnishing a key to the right interpretation ofPs 91:1-18 and such like.14. But when ye shall see—"Jerusalem compassed by armies"—by encamped armies; in otherwords, when ye shall see it besieged, andthe abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it oughtnot—that is, as explained in Matthew (Mt 24:15), "standing in the holy place."(let him that readeth understand)—readeth that prophecy. That "the abomination of desolation"here alluded to was intended to point to the Roman ensigns, as the symbols of an idolatrous, andso unclean pagan power, may be gathered by comparing what Luke says in the corresponding verse(Lu 21:20); and commentators are agreed on it. It is worthy of notice, as confirming thisinterpretation, that in 1 Maccabees 1:54—which, though aprocryphal Scripture, is authentichistory—the expression of Daniel (Da 11:31; 12:11) is applied to the idolatrous profanation of theJewish altar by Antiochus Epiphanes.then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains—The ecclesiastical historian, Eusebius,early in the fourth century, tells us that the Christians fled to Pella, at the northern extremity ofPerea, being "prophetically directed"—perhaps by some prophetic intimation more explicit thanthis, which would be their chart—and that thus they escaped the predicted calamities by which thenation was overwhelmed.15. And let him that is on the housetop not get down into the house, neither enter therein,to take any thing out of his house—that is, let him take the outside flight of steps from the roofto the ground; a graphic way of denoting the extreme urgency of the case, and the danger of beingtempted, by the desire to save his property, to delay till escape should become impossible.16. And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.2027JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson17. But woe to them—or, "alas for them."that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days—in consequence of theaggravated suffering which those conditions would involve.18. And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter—making escape perilous, or temptingyou to delay your flight. Matthew (Mt 24:20) adds, "neither on the sabbath day," when, from fearof a breach of its sacred rest, they might be induced to remain.19. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creationwhich God created unto this time, neither shall be—Such language is not unusual in the OldTestament with reference to tremendous calamities. But it is matter of literal fact that there wascrowded into the period of the Jewish war an amount and complication of suffering perhapsunparalleled; as the narrative of Josephus, examined closely and arranged under different heads,would show.20. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh—that is, no human life.should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened thedays—But for this merciful "shortening," brought about by a remarkable concurrence of causes,the whole nation would have perished, in which there yet remained a remnant to be afterwardsgathered out. This portion of the prophecy closes, in Luke, with the following vivid and importantglance at the subsequent fortunes of the chosen people: "And they shall fall by the sword, and shallbe led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until thetimes of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lu 21:24). The language as well as the idea of this remarkablestatement is taken from Da 8:10, 13. What, then, is its import here? It implies, first, that a time iscoming when Jerusalem shall cease to be "trodden down of the Gentiles"; which it was then bypagan, and since and till now is by Mohammedan unbelievers: and next, it implies that the periodwhen this treading down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles is to cease will be when "the times of theGentiles are fulfilled" or "completed." But what does this mean? We may gather the meaning of itfrom Ro 11:1-36 in which the divine purposes and procedure towards the chosen people from firstto last are treated in detail. In Ro 11:25 these words of our Lord are thus reproduced: "For I wouldnot, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." See theexposition of that verse, from which it will appear that "till the fulness of the Gentiles be comein"—or, in our Lord's phraseology, "till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"—does not mean "tillthe general conversion of the world to Christ," but "till the Gentiles have had their full time of thatplace in the Church which the Jews had before them." After that period of Gentilism, as before ofJudaism, "Jerusalem" and Israel, no longer "trodden down by the Gentiles," but "grafted into theirown olive tree," shall constitute, with the believing Gentiles, one Church of God, and fill the wholeearth. What a bright vista does this open up!21. And then, if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo he is there; believe himnot—So Lu 17:23.22. For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders. Noone can read Josephus' account of what took place before the destruction of Jerusalem without seeinghow strikingly this was fulfilled.to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect—implying that this, though all but done, willprove impossible. What a precious assurance! (Compare 2Th 2:9-12).2028JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. But take ye heed; behold, I have foretold you all things—He had just told them that theseduction of the elect would prove impossible; but since this would be all but accomplished, Hebids them be on their guard, as the proper means of averting that catastrophe. In Matthew (Mt24:26-28) we have some additional particulars: "Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, Heis in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightningcometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of manbe." See on Lu 17:23, 24. "For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together."See on Lu 17:37.24. But in those days, after that tribulation—"Immediately after the tribulation of those days"(Mt 24:29).the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.25. And the stars of heaven shall fall—"and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those thingswhich are coming on the earth" (Lu 21:25, 26).and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken—Though the grandeur of this languagecarries the mind over the head of all periods but that of Christ's Second Coming, nearly everyexpression will be found used of the Lord's coming in terrible national judgments: as of Babylon(Isa 13:9-13); of Idumea (Isa 34:1, 2, 4, 8-10); of Egypt (Eze 32:7, 8); compare also Ps 18:7-15;Isa 24:1, 17-19; Joe 2:10, 11, &c. We cannot therefore consider the mere strength of this languagea proof that it refers exclusively or primarily to the precursors of the final day, though of course in"that day" it will have its most awful fulfilment.26. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power andglory—In Mt 24:30, this is given most fully: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man inheaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man," &c.That this language finds its highest interpretation in the Second Personal Coming of Christ, is mostcertain. But the question is, whether that be the primary sense of it as it stands here? Now if thereader will turn to Da 7:13, 14, and connect with it the preceding verses, he will find, we think, thetrue key to our Lord's meaning here. There the powers that oppressed the Church—symbolized byrapacious wild beasts—are summoned to the bar of the Great God, who as the Ancient of daysseats Himself, with His assessors, on a burning Throne: thousand thousands ministering to Him,and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him. "The judgment is set, and the books areopened." Who that is guided by the mere words would doubt that this is a description of the FinalJudgment? And yet nothing is clearer than that it is not, but a description of a vast temporal judgment,upon organized bodies of men, for their incurable hostility to the kingdom of God upon earth. Well,after the doom of these has been pronounced and executed, and room thus prepared for theunobstructed development of the kingdom of God over the earth, what follows? "I saw in the nightvisions, and behold, one like THE Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancientof days, and they [the angelic attendants] brought Him near before Him." For what purpose? Toreceive investiture in the kingdom, which, as Messiah, of right belonged to Him. Accordingly, itis added, "And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations,and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not passaway, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Comparing this with our Lord's words,He seems to us, by "the Son of man [on which phrase, see on Joh 1:51] coming in the clouds withgreat power and glory," to mean, that when judicial vengeance shall once have been executed upon2029JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJerusalem, and the ground thus cleared for the unobstructed establishment of His own kingdom,His true regal claims and rights would be visibly and gloriously asserted and manifested. See onLu 9:28 (with its parallels in Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2), in which nearly the same language is employed,and where it can hardly be understood of anything else than the full and free establishment of thekingdom of Christ on the destruction of Jerusalem. But what is that "sign of the Son of man inheaven?" Interpreters are not agreed. But as before Christ came to destroy Jerusalem some appallingportents were seen in the air, so before His Personal appearing it is likely that something analogouswill be witnessed, though of what nature it would be vain to conjecture.27. And then shall he send his angels—"with a great sound of a trumpet" (Mt 24:31).and shall gather together his elect, &c.—As the tribes of Israel were anciently gatheredtogether by sound of trumpet (Ex 19:13, 16, 19; Le 23:24; Ps 81:3-5), so any mighty gathering ofGod's people, by divine command, is represented as collected by sound of trumpet (Isa 27:13;compare Re 11:15); and the ministry of angels, employed in all the great operations of Providence,is here held forth as the agency by which the present assembling of the elect is to be accomplished.Lightfoot thus explains it: "When Jerusalem shall be reduced to ashes, and that wicked nation cut offand rejected, then shall the Son of man send His ministers with the trumpet of the Gospel, and theyshall gather His elect of the several nations, from the four corners of heaven: so that God shall notwant a Church, although that ancient people of His be rejected and cast off: but that ancient JewishChurch being destroyed, a new Church shall be called out of the Gentiles." But though somethinglike this appears to be the primary sense of the verse, in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem,no one can fail to see that the language swells beyond any gathering of a human family into aChurch upon earth, and forces the thoughts onward to that gathering of the Church "at the lasttrump," to meet the Lord in the air, which is to wind up the present scene. Still, this is not, in ourjudgment, the direct subject of the prediction; for Mr 13:28 limits the whole prediction to thegeneration then existing.28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree—"Now from the fig tree learn the parable," or thehigh lesson which this teaches.When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves—"its leaves."29. So ye, in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass—rather, "coming topass."know that it—"the kingdom of God" (Lu 21:31).is nigh, even at the doors—that is, the full manifestation of it; for till then it admitted of nofull development. In Luke (Lu 21:28) the following words precede these: "And when these thingsbegin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh"—theirredemption, in the first instance certainly, from Jewish oppression (1Th 2:14-16; Lu 11:52): but inthe highest sense of these words, redemption from all the oppressions and miseries of the presentstate at the second appearing of the Lord Jesus.30. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass fill all these things be done—or"fulfilled" (Mt 24:34; Lu 21:32). Whether we take this to mean that the whole would be fulfilledwithin the limits of the generation then current, or, according to a usual way of speaking, that thegeneration then existing would not pass away without seeing a begun fulfilment of this prediction,the facts entirely correspond. For either the whole was fulfilled in the destruction accomplished byTitus, as many think; or, if we stretch it out, according to others, till the thorough dispersion of theJews a little later, under Adrian, every requirement of our Lord's words seems to be met.2030JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson31. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away—the strongestpossible expression of the divine authority by which He spake; not as Moses or Paul might havesaid of their own inspiration, for such language would be unsuitable in any merely human mouth.Warnings to Prepare for the Coming of Christ Suggested by the Foregoing Prophecy (Mr13:32-37).It will be observed that, in the foregoing prophecy, as our Lord approaches the crisis of the dayof vengeance on Jerusalem and redemption for the Church—at which stage the analogy betweenthat and the day of final vengeance and redemption waxes more striking—His language rises andswells beyond all temporal and partial vengeance, beyond all earthly deliverances and enlargements,and ushers us resistlessly into the scenes of the final day. Accordingly, in these six concludingverses it is manifest that preparation for "THAT DAY" is what our Lord designs to inculcate.32. But of that day and that hour—that is, the precise time.knoweth no man—literally, no one.no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father—This veryremarkable statement regarding "the Son" is peculiar to Mark. Whether it means that the Son wasnot at that time in possession of the knowledge referred to, or simply that it was not among thethings which He had received to communicate—has been matter of much controversy even amongthe firmest believers in the proper Divinity of Christ. In the latter sense it was taken by some of themost eminent of the ancient Fathers, and by Luther, Melancthon, and most of the older Lutherans; andit is so taken by Bengel, Lange, Webster and Wilkinson, Chrysostom and others understood it to mean thatas man our Lord was ignorant of this. It is taken literally by Calvin, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Fritzsche,Stier, Alford, and Alexander.33. Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is.34. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, &c.—The idea thus far is similarto that in the opening part of the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14, 15).and commanded the porter—the gatekeeper.to watch—pointing to the official duty of the ministers of religion to give warning of approachingdanger to the people.35. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even,or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning—an allusion to the four Romanwatches of the night.36. Lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping—See on Lu 12:35-40; Lu 12:42-46.37. And what I say unto you—this discourse, it will be remembered, was delivered in private.I say unto all, Watch—anticipating and requiring the diffusion of His teaching by them amongall His disciples, and its perpetuation through all time.CHAPTER 14Mr 14:1-11. The Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Put Jesus to Death—The Supper and the Anointing atBethany—Judas Agrees with the Chief Priests to Betray His Lord. ( = Mt 26:1-16; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).The events of this section appeared to have occurred on the fourth day (Wednesday) of theRedeemer's Last Week.Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Put Jesus to Death (Mr 14:1, 2).2031JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1. After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread—The meaningis, that two days after what is about to be mentioned the passover would arrive; in other words,what follows occurred two days before the feast.and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and puthim to death—From Matthew's fuller account (Mt 26:1-75) we learn that our Lord announced thisto the Twelve as follows, being the first announcement to them of the precise time: "And it cameto pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings" (Mt 26:1)—referring to the contents of Mt24:1-25:46, which He delivered to His disciples; His public ministry being now closed: from Hisprophetical He is now passing into His priestly office, although all along He Himself took ourinfirmities and bare our sicknesses—"He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days is[the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." The first and the laststeps of His final sufferings are brought together in this brief announcement of all that was to takeplace. The passover was the first and the chief of the three great annual festivals, commemorativeof the redemption of God's people from Egypt, through the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb divinelyappointed to be slain for that end; the destroying angel, "when he saw the blood, passing over" theIsraelitish houses, on which that blood was seen, when he came to destroy all the first-born in theland of Egypt (Ex 12:12, 13)—bright typical foreshadowing of the great Sacrifice, and theRedemption effected thereby. Accordingly, "by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge ofGod, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working," it was so ordered that precisely at thepassover season, "Christ our Passover should be sacrificed for us." On the day following the passovercommenced "the feast of unleavened bread," so called because for seven days only unleavenedbread was to be eaten (Ex 12:18-20). See on 1Co 5:6-8. We are further told by Matthew (Mt 26:3)that the consultation was held in the palace of Caiaphas the high priest, between the chief priests,[the scribes], and the elders of the people, how "they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill Him."2. But they said, Not on the feast day—rather, not during the feast; not until the seven daysof unleavened bread should be over.lest there be an uproar of the people—In consequence of the vast influx of strangers, embracingall the male population of the land who had reached a certain age, there were within the walls ofJerusalem at this festival some two million people; and in their excited state, the danger of tumultand bloodshed among "the people," who for the most part took Jesus for a prophet, was extreme.See Josephus [Antiquities, 20.5.3]. What plan, if any, these ecclesiastics fixed upon for seizing ourLord, does not appear. But the proposal of Judas being at once and eagerly gone into, it is probablethey were till then at some loss for a plan sufficiently quiet and yet effectual. So, just at the feasttime shall it be done; the unexpected offer of Judas relieving them of their fears. Thus, as Bengelremarks, did the divine counsel take effect.The Supper and the Anointing at Bethany Six Days before the Passover (Mr 14:3-9).The time of this part of the narrative is four days before what has just been related. Had it beenpart of the regular train of events which our Evangelist designed to record, he would probably haveinserted it in its proper place, before the conspiracy of the Jewish authorities. But having come tothe treason of Judas, he seems to have gone back upon this scene as what probably gave immediateoccasion to the awful deed.3. And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came awoman—It was "Mary," as we learn from Joh 12:3.2032JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhaving an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard—pure nard, a celebrated aromatic—(SeeSo 1:12).very precious—"very costly" (Joh 12:3).and she brake the box, and poured it on his head—"and anointed," adds John (Joh 12:3),"the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of theointment." The only use of this was to refresh and exhilarate—a grateful compliment in the East,amid the closeness of a heated atmosphere, with many guests at a feast. Such was the form in whichMary's love to Christ, at so much cost to herself, poured itself out.4. And there were some that had indignation within themselves and said—Matthew says(Mt 26:8), "But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying," &c. The spokesman,however, was none of the true-hearted Eleven—as we learn from John (Joh 12:4): "Then saith oneof His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him." Doubtless the thoughtstirred first in his breast, and issued from his base lips; and some of the rest, ignorant of his truecharacter and feelings, and carried away by his plausible speech, might for the moment feel somechagrin at the apparent waste.Why was this waste of the ointment made?5. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence—between nine and tenpounds sterling.and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her—"This he said," remarksJohn (Joh 12:6), and the remark is of exceeding importance, "not that he cared for the poor butbecause he was a thief, and had the bag"—the scrip or treasure chest—"and bare what was puttherein"—not "bare it off" by theft, as some understand it. It is true that he did this; but the expressionmeans simply that he had charge of it and its contents, or was treasurer to Jesus and the Twelve.What a remarkable arrangement was this, by which an avaricious and dishonest person was notonly taken into the number of the Twelve, but entrusted with the custody of their little property!The purposes which this served are obvious enough; but it is further noticeable, that the remotesthint was never given to the Eleven of his true character, nor did the disciples most favored withthe intimacy of Jesus ever suspect him, till a few minutes before he voluntarily separated himselffrom their company—for ever!6. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work onme—It was good in itself, and so was acceptable to Christ; it was eminently seasonable, and somore acceptable still; and it was "what she could," and so most acceptable of all.7. For ye have the poor with you always—referring to De 15:11.and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always—a gentle hintof His approaching departure, by One who knew the worth of His own presence.8. She hath done what she could—a noble testimony, embodying a principle of immenseimportance.she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying—or, as in John (Joh 12:7), "Againstthe day of my burying hath she kept this." Not that she, dear heart, thought of His burial, much lessreserved any of her nard to anoint her dead Lord. But as the time was so near at hand when thatoffice would have to be performed, and she was not to have that privilege even after the spiceswere brought for the purpose (Mr 16:1), He lovingly regards it as done now. "In the act of lovedone to Him," says Olshausen beautifully, "she has erected to herself an eternal monument, as lastingas the Gospel, the eternal Word of God. From generation to generation this remarkable prophecy2033JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof the Lord has been fulfilled; and even we, in explaining this saying of the Redeemer, of necessitycontribute to its accomplishment." "Who but Himself," asks Stier, "had the power to ensure to anywork of man, even if resounding in His own time through the whole earth, an imperishableremembrance in the stream of history? Behold once more here the majesty of His royal judicialsupremacy in the government of the world, in this, 'Verily I say unto you.'"10. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him untothem—that is, to make his proposals, and to bargain with them, as appears from Matthew's fullerstatement (Mt 26:14, 15) which says, he "went unto the chief priests, and said, What will ye giveme, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver."The thirty pieces of silver were thirty shekels, the fine paid for man- or maid-servant accidentallykilled (Ex 21:32), and equal to between four and five pounds sterling—"a goodly price that I wasprized at of them!" (Zec 11:13).11. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money—Matthewalone records the precise sum, because a remarkable and complicated prophecy, which he wasafterwards to refer to, was fulfilled by it.And he sought how he might conveniently betray him—or, as more fully given in Luke (Lu22:6), "And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of themultitude." That he should avoid an "uproar" or "riot" among the people, which probably was madean essential condition by the Jewish authorities, was thus assented to by the traitor; into whom,says Luke (Lu 22:3), "Satan entered," to put him upon this hellish deed.Mr 14:12-26. Preparation for, and Last Celebration of, the Passover—Announcement of the Traitor—Institutionof the Supper. ( = Mt 26:17-30; Lu 22:7-23, 39; Joh 13:21-30).See on Lu 22:7-23; Lu 22:39; and see on Joh 13:10, 11; Joh 13:18, 19; Joh 13:21-30.Mr 14:27-31. The Desertion of Jesus by His Disciples and the Fall of Peter, Foretold. ( = Mt 26:31-35; Lu22:31-38; Joh 13:36-38).See on Lu 22:31-46.Mr 14:32-42. The Agony in the Garden. ( = Mt 26:36-46; Lu 22:39-46).See on Lu 22:39-46.Mr 14:43-52. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mt 26:47-56; Lu 22:47-53;Joh 18:1-12).See on Joh 18:1-12.Mr 14:53-72. Jesus Arraigned before the Sanhedrim, Condemned to Die, and Shamefully Entreated—The Fall ofPeter. ( = Mt 26:57-75; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-18, 24-27).Had we only the first three Gospels, we should have concluded that our Lord was led immediatelyto Caiaphas, and had before the Council. But as the Sanhedrim could hardly have been broughttogether at the dead hour of night—by which time our Lord was in the hands of the officers sentto take Him—and as it was only "as soon as it was day" that the Council met (Lu 22:66), we shouldhave had some difficulty in knowing what was done with Him during those intervening hours. Inthe Fourth Gospel, however, all this is cleared up, and a very important addition to our informationis made (Joh 18:13, 14, 19-24). Let us endeavor to trace the events in the true order of succession,and in the detail supplied by a comparison of all the four streams of text.2034JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJesus Is Brought Privately before Annas, the Father-in-Law of Caiaphas (Joh18:13, 14).Joh 18:13:And they led Him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas,which was the high priest that same year—This successful Annas, as Ellicott remarks,was appointed high priest by Quirinus, A.D. 12, and after holding the office forseveral years, was deposed by Valerius Gratius, Pilate's predecessor in theprocuratorship of Judea [Josephus, Antiquities, 18.2.1, &c.]. He appears, however, tohave possessed vast influence, having obtained the high priesthood, not only for hisson Eleazar, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, but subsequently for four other sons, underthe last of whom James, the brother of our Lord, was put to death [Antiquities,20.9.1]. It is thus highly probable that, besides having the title of "high priest" merelyas one who had filled the office, he to a great degree retained the powers he hadformerly exercised, and came to be regarded practically as a kind of rightful highpriest.Joh 18:14:Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedientthat one man should die for the people. See on Joh 11:51. What passed betweenAnnas and our Lord during this interval the beloved disciple reserves till he hasrelated the beginning of Peter's fall. To this, then, as recorded by our own Evangelist,let us meanwhile listen.Peter Obtains Access within the Quadrangle of the High Priest's Residence, and Warms Himselfat the Fire (Mr 14:53, 54).53. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled—or rather,"there gathered together unto him."all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes—it was then a full and formal meeting ofthe Sanhedrim. Now, as the first three Evangelists place all Peter's denials of his Lord after this,we should naturally conclude that they took place while our Lord stood before the Sanhedrim. Butbesides that the natural impression is that the scene around the fire took place overnight, the secondcrowing of the cock, if we are to credit ancient writers, would occur about the beginning of thefourth watch, or between three and four in the morning. By that time, however, the Council hadprobably convened, being warned, perhaps, that they were to prepare for being called at any hourof the morning, should the Prisoner be successfully secured. If this be correct, it is fairly certainthat only the last of Peter's three denials would take place while our Lord was under trial beforethe Sanhedrim. One thing more may require explanation. If our Lord had to be transferred fromthe residence of Annas to that of Caiaphas, one is apt to wonder that there is no mention of Hisbeing marched from the one to the other. But the building, in all likelihood, was one and the same;in which case He would merely have to be taken perhaps across the court, from one chamber toanother.54. And Peter followed him afar off, even into—or "from afar, even to the interior of."the palace of the high priest—"An oriental house," says Robinson, "is usually built around aquadrangular interior court; into which there is a passage (sometimes arched) through the front part2035JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof the house, closed next the street by a heavy folding gate, with a smaller wicket for single persons,kept by a porter. The interior court, often paved or flagged, and open to the sky, is the hall, whichour translators have rendered 'palace,' where the attendants made a fire; and the passage beneaththe front of the house, from the street to this court, is the porch. The place where Jesus stood beforethe high priest may have been an open room, or place of audience on the ground floor, in the rearor on one side of the court; such rooms, open in front, being customary. It was close upon the court,for Jesus heard all that was going on around the fire, and turned and looked upon Peter (Lu 22:61)."and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire—The graphic details, hereomitted, are supplied in the other Gospels. Joh 18:18:And the servants and officers stood there—that is, in the hall, within the quadrangle, open tothe sky.who had made a fire of coals—or charcoal (in a brazier probably).for it was cold—John alone of all the Evangelists mentions the material, and the coldness ofthe night, as Webster and Wilkinson remark. The elevated situation of Jerusalem, observes Tholuck,renders it so cold about Easter as to make a watch fire at night indispensable.And Peter stood with them and warmed himself—"He went in," says Matthew (Mt 26:58),"and sat with the servants to see the end." These two minute statements throw an interesting lighton each other. His wishing to "see the end," or issue of these proceedings, was what led him intothe palace, for he evidently feared the worst. But once in, the serpent coil is drawn closer; it is acold night, and why should not he take advantage of the fire as well as others? Besides, in the talkof the crowd about the all-engrossing topic he may pick up something which he would like to hear.Poor Peter! But now, let us leave him warming himself at the fire, and listening to the hum of talkabout this strange case by which the subordinate officials, passing to and fro and crowding aroundthe fire in this open court, would while away the time; and, following what appears the order ofthe Evangelical Narrative, let us turn to Peter's Lord.Jesus Is Interrogated by Annas—His Dignified Reply—Is Treated with Indignityby One of the Officials—His Meek Rebuke (Joh 18:19-23).We have seen that it is only the Fourth Evangelist who tells us that our Lord wassent to Annas first, overnight, until the Sanhedrim could be got together at earliestdawn. We have now, in the same Gospel, the deeply instructive scene that passedduring this non-official interview.Joh 18:19:The high priest—Annas.then asked Jesus of His disciples and of His doctrine—probably to entrap Himinto some statements which might be used against Him at the trial. From our Lord'sanswer it would seem that "His disciples" were understood to be some secret party.Joh 18:20.Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world—compare Joh 7:4. He speaksof His public teaching as now a past thing—as now all over.I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews alwaysresort—courting publicity, though with sublime noiselessness.2036JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand in secret have I said nothing—rather, "spake I nothing"; that is, nothingdifferent from what He taught in public: all His private communications with theTwelve being but explanations and developments of His public teaching. (CompareIsa 45:19; 48:16).Joh 18:21:Why askest thou Me? ask them which heard Me what I have said tothem—rather, "what I said unto them."behold, they know what I said—From this mode of replying, it is evident thatour Lord saw the attempt to draw Him into self-crimination, and resented it by fallingback upon the right of every accused party to have some charge laid against Himby competent witnesses.Joh 18:22:And when He had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesuswith the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest Thou the high priest so?—(see Isa50:6). It would seem from Ac 23:2 that this summary and undignified way ofpunishment what was deemed insolence in the accused had the sanction even of thehigh priests themselves.Joh 18:23:Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil—rather, "If I spoke evil," in replyto the high priest.bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?—He does not say"if not evil," as if His reply had been merely unobjectionable; but "if well," whichseems to challenge something altogether fitting in the remonstrance. He had addressedto the high priest. From our Lord's procedure here, by the way, it is evident enoughthat His own precept in the Sermon on the Mount—that when smitten on the onecheek we are to turn to the smiter the other also (Mt 5:39)—is not to be taken to theletter.Annas Sends Jesus to Caiaphas (Joh 18:24).Joh 18:24.Now Annas had sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest—On themeaning of this verse there is much diversity of opinion; and according as weunderstand it will be the conclusion we come to, whether there was but one hearingof our Lord before Annas and Caiaphas together, or whether, according to the viewwe have given above, there were two hearings—a preliminary and informal onebefore Annas, and a formal and official one before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrim. Ifour translators have given the right sense of the verse, there was but one hearingbefore Caiaphas; and then Joh 18:24 is to be read as a parenthesis, merelysupplementing what was said in Joh 18:13. This is the view of Calvin, Beza, Grotius,Bengel, De Wette, Meyer, Lucke, Tholuck. But there are decided objections to this view.First: We cannot but think that the natural sense of the whole passage, embracingJoh 18:13, 14, 19-24, is that of a preliminary non-official hearing before "Annasfirst," the particulars of which are accordingly recorded; and then of a transference2037JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof our Lord from Annas to Caiaphas. Second: On the other view, it is not easy tosee why the Evangelist should not have inserted Joh 18:24 immediately after Joh18:13; or rather, how he could well have done otherwise. As it stands, it is not onlyquite out of its proper place, but comes in most perplexingly. Whereas, if we takeit as a simple statement of fact, that after Annas had finished his interview withJesus, as recorded in Joh 18:19-23, he transferred Him to Caiaphas to be formallytried, all is clear and natural. Third: The pluperfect sense "had sent" is in thetranslation only; the sense of the original word being simply "sent." And thoughthere are cases where the aorist here used has the sense of an English pluperfect,this sense is not to be put upon it unless it be obvious and indisputable. Here that isso far from being the case, that the pluperfect "had sent" is rather an unwarrantableinterpretation than a simple translation of the word; informing the reader that,according to the view of our translators, our Lord "had been" sent to Caiaphas beforethe interview just recorded by the Evangelist; whereas, if we translate the verseliterally—"Annas sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest"—we get just theinformation we expect, that Annas, having merely "precognosced" the prisoner,hoping to draw something out of Him, "sent Him to Caiaphas" to be formally triedbefore the proper tribunal. This is the view of Chrysostom and Augustine among theFathers; and of the moderns, of Olshausen, Schleiermacher, Neander, Ebrard, Wieseler, Lange,Luthardt. This brings us back to the text of our second Gospel, and in it toThe Judicial Trial and Condemnation of the Lord Jesus by the Sanhedrim (Mr 14:55-64).But let the reader observe, that though this is introduced by the Evangelist before any of thedenials of Peter are recorded, we have given reasons for concluding that probably the first twodenials took place while our Lord was with Annas, and the last only during the trial before theSanhedrim.55. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put himto death—Matthew (Mt 26:59) says they "sought false witness." They knew they could find nothingvalid; but having their Prisoner to bring before Pilate, they behooved to make a case.and found none—none that would suit their purpose, or make a decent ground of charge beforePilate.56. For many bare false witness against him—From their debasing themselves to "seek"them, we are led to infer that they were bribed to bear false witness; though there are never wantingsycophants enough, ready to sell themselves for naught, if they may but get a smile from thoseabove them: see a similar scene in Ac 6:11-14. How is one reminded here of that complaint, "Falsewitnesses did rise up: they laid to my charge things that I knew not" (Ps 31:11)!but their witness agreed not together—If even two of them had been agreed, it would havebeen greedily enough laid hold of, as all that the law insisted upon even in capital cases (De 17:6).But even in this they failed. One cannot but admire the providence which secured this result; since,on the one hand, it seems astonishing that those unscrupulous prosecutors and their ready toolsshould so bungle a business in which they felt their whole interests bound up; and, on the otherhand, if they had succeeded in making even a plausible case, the effect on the progress of the Gospelmight for a time have been injurious. But at the very time when His enemies were saying, "God2038JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhath forsaken Him; persecute and take Him; for there is none to deliver Him" (Ps 71:11), He whoseWitness He was and whose work He was doing was keeping Him as the apple of His eye, and whileHe was making the wrath of man to praise Him, was restraining the remainder of that wrath (Ps76:10).57. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him—Matthew (Mt 26:60) ismore precise here: "At the last came two false witnesses." As no two had before agreed in anything,they felt it necessary to secure a duplicate testimony to something, but they were long of succeeding.And what was it, when at length it was brought forward?saying—as follows:58. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within threedays I will build another made without hands—On this charge, observe, first, that eager as Hisenemies were to find criminal matter against our Lord, they had to go back to the outset of Hisministry, His first visit to Jerusalem, more than three years before this. In all that He said and didafter that, though ever increasing in boldness, they could find nothing. Next, that even then, theyfix only on one speech, of two or three words, which they dared to adduce against Him. Further,they most manifestly pervert the speech of our Lord. We say not this because in Mark's form of it,it differs from the report of the words given by the Fourth Evangelist (Joh 2:18-22)—the only oneof the Evangelists who reports it all, or mentions even any visit paid by our Lord to Jerusalembefore His last—but because the one report bears truth, and the other falsehood, on its face. Whenour Lord said on that occasion, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up," they might,for a moment, have understood Him to refer to the temple out of whose courts He had swept thebuyers and sellers. But after they had expressed their astonishment at His words, in that sense ofthem, and reasoned upon the time it had taken to rear the temple as it then stood, since no answerto this appears to have been given by our Lord, it is hardly conceivable that they should continuein the persuasion that this was really His meaning. But finally, even if the more ignorant amongthem had done so, it is next to certain that the ecclesiastics, who were the prosecutors in this case,did not believe that this was His meaning. For in less than three days after this they went to Pilate,saying, "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I willrise again" (Mt 27:63). Now what utterance of Christ known to His enemies, could this refer to, ifnot to this very saying about destroying and rearing up the temple? And if so, it puts it beyond adoubt that by this time, at least, they were perfectly aware that our Lord's words referred to Hisdeath by their hands and His resurrection by His own. But this is confirmed by Mr 14:59.59. But neither so did their witness agree together—that is, not even as to so brief a speech,consisting of but a few words, was there such a concurrence in their mode of reporting it as to makeout a decent case. In such a charge everything depended on the very terms alleged to have beenused. For every one must see that a very slight turn, either way, given to such words, would makethem either something like indictable matter, or else a ridiculous ground for a criminalcharge—would either give them a colorable pretext for the charge of impiety which they were benton making out, or else make the whole saying appear, on the worst view that could be taken of it,as merely some mystical or empty boast.60. Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?—Clearly, theyfelt that their case had failed, and by this artful question the high priest hoped to get from His ownmouth what they had in vain tried to obtain from their false and contradictory witnesses. But inthis, too, they failed.2039JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson61. But he held his peace, and answered nothing—This must have nonplussed them. Butthey were not to be easily baulked of their object.Again the high priest—arose (Mt 26:62), matters having now come to a crisis.asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?—Why our Lordshould have answered this question, when He was silent as to the former, we might not have quiteseen, but for Matthew, who says (Mt 26:63) that the high priest put Him upon solemn oath, saying,"I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God."Such an adjuration was understood to render an answer legally necessary (Le 5:1). (Also see onJoh 18:28.)62. And Jesus said, I am—or, as in Matthew (Mt 26:64), "Thou hast said [it]." In Luke, however(Lu 22:70), the answer, "Ye say that I am," should be rendered—as De Wette, Meyer, Ellicott, and thebest critics agree that the preposition requires—"Ye say [it], for I am [so]." Some words, however,were spoken by our Lord before giving His answer to this solemn question. These are recorded byLuke alone (Lu 22:67, 68): "Art Thou the Christ [they asked]? tell us. And He said unto them, If Itell you, ye will not believe: and if I also ask [interrogate] "you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Mego." This seems to have been uttered before giving His direct answer, as a calm remonstrance anddignified protest against the prejudgment of His case and the unfairness of their mode of procedure.But now let us hear the rest of the answer, in which the conscious majesty of Jesus breaks forthfrom behind the dark cloud which overhung Him as He stood before the Council. (Also see on Joh18:28.)and—in that character.ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the cloudsof heaven—In Matthew (Mt 26:64) a slightly different but interesting turn is given to it by oneword: "Thou hast said [it]: nevertheless"—We prefer this sense of the word to "besides," whichsome recent critics decide for—"I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sit on theright hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." The word rendered "hereafter" means,not "at some future time" (as to-day "hereafter" commonly does), but what the English wordoriginally signified, "after here," "after now," or "from this time." Accordingly, in Lu 22:69, thewords used mean "from now." So that though the reference we have given it to the day of Hisglorious Second Appearing is too obvious to admit of doubt, He would, by using the expression,"From this time," convey the important thought which He had before expressed, immediately afterthe traitor left the supper table to do his dark work, "Now is the Son of man glorified" (Joh 13:31).At this moment, and by this speech, did He "witness the good confession" emphatically and properly,as the apostle says in 1Ti 6:13. Our translators render the words there, "Who before Pontius Pilatewitnessed"; referring it to the admission of His being a King, in the presence of Cæsar's own chiefrepresentative. But it should be rendered, as Luther renders it, and as the best interpreters nowunderstand it, "Who under Pontius Pilate witnessed," &c. In this view of it, the apostle is referringnot to what our Lord confessed before Pilate—which, though noble, was not of such primaryimportance—but to that sublime confession which, under Pilate's administration, He witnessedbefore the only competent tribunal on such occasions, the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council of God'schosen nation, that He was THE Messiah, and THE Son of the Blessed One; in the former word owningHis Supreme Official, in the latter His Supreme Personal, Dignity.63. Then the high priest rent his clothes—On this expression of horror of blasphemy, see2Ki 18:37.2040JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand saith, What need we any further witnesses? (Also see on Joh 18:28.)64. Ye have heard the blasphemy—(See Joh 10:33). In Luke (Lu 22:71), "For we ourselveshave heard of His own mouth"—an affectation of religious horror. (Also see on Joh 18:28.)what think ye?—"Say what the verdict is to be."they all condemned him to be guilty of death—or of a capital crime, which blasphemy againstGod was according to the Jewish law (Le 24:16). Yet not absolutely all; for Joseph of Arimathea,"a good man and a just," was one of that Council, and "he was not a consenting party to the counseland deed of them," for that is the strict sense of the words of Lu 23:50, 51. Probably he absentedhimself, and Nicodemus also, from this meeting of the Council, the temper of which they wouldknow too well to expect their voice to be listened to; and in that case, the words of our Evangelistare to be taken strictly, that, without one dissentient voice, "all [present] condemned him to beguilty of death."The Blessed One Is Now Shamefully Entreated (Mr 14:65).Every word here must be carefully observed, and the several accounts put together, that wemay lose none of the awful indignities about to be described.65. And some began to spit on him—or, as in Mt 26:67, "to spit in [into] His face." Luke (Lu22:63) says in addition, "And the men that held Jesus mocked him"—or cast their jeers at Him.(Also see on Joh 18:28.)to cover his face—or "to blindfold him" (as in Lu 22:64).to buffet him—Luke's word, which is rendered "smote Him" (Lu 22:63), is a stronger one,conveying an idea for which we have an exact equivalent in English, but one too colloquial to beinserted here.began to say unto him, Prophesy—In Matthew (Mt 26:68) this is given more fully: "Prophesyunto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee?" The sarcastic fling at Him as "the Christ," andthe demand of Him in this character to name the unseen perpetrator of the blows inflicted on Him,was in them as infamous as to Him it must have been, and was intended to be, stinging.and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands—or "struck Him on the face"(Lu 22:64). Ah! Well did He say prophetically, in that Messianic prediction which we have oftenreferred to, "I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hidnot My face from shame and spitting!" (Isa 50:6). "And many other things blasphemously spakethey against Him" (Lu 22:65). This general statement is important, as showing that virulent andvaried as were the recorded affronts put upon Him, they are but a small specimen of what Heendured on that dark occasion.Peter's First Denial of His Lord (Mr 14:66-68).66. And as Peter was beneath in the palace—This little word "beneath"—one of ourEvangelist's graphic touches—is most important for the right understanding of what we may callthe topography of the scene. We must take it in connection with Matthew's word (Mt 26:69): "NowPeter sat without in the palace"—or quadrangular court, in the center of which the fire would beburning; and crowding around and buzzing about it would be the menials and others who had beenadmitted within the court. At the upper end of this court, probably, would be the memorable chamberin which the trial was held—open to the court, likely, and not far from the fire (as we gather fromLu 22:61), but on a higher level; for (as our verse says) the court, with Peter in it, was "beneath"it. The ascent to the Council chamber was perhaps by a short flight of steps. If the reader will bearthis explanation in mind, he will find the intensely interesting details which follow more intelligible.2041JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthere cometh one of the maids of the high priest—"the damsel that kept the door" (Joh 18:17).The Jews seem to have employed women as porters of their doors (Ac 12:13).67. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him—Luke (Lu 22:56) ishere more graphic; "But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire"—literally, "by the light,"which, shining full upon him, revealed him to the girl—"and earnestly looked upon him"—or,"fixed her gaze upon him." His demeanor and timidity, which must have attracted notice, as sogenerally happens, "leading," says Olshausen, "to the recognition of him."and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth—"with Jesus the Nazarene," or, "withJesus of Galilee" (Mt 26:69). The sense of this is given in John's report of it (Joh 18:17), "Art notthou also one of this man's disciples?" that is, thou as well as "that other disciple," whom she knewto be one, but did not challenge, perceiving that he was a privileged person. In Luke (Lu 22:56) itis given as a remark made by the maid to one of the by-standers—"this man was also with Him."If so expressed in Peter's hearing—drawing upon him the eyes of every one that heard it (as weknow it did, Mt 26:70), and compelling him to answer to it—that would explain the different formsof the report naturally enough. But in such a case this is of no real importance.68. But he denied—"before all" (Mt 26:70).saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest—in Luke (Lu 22:57), "I knowHim not."And he went out into the porch—the vestibule leading to the street—no doubt finding thefire-place too hot for him; possibly also with the hope of escaping—but that was not to be, andperhaps he dreaded that, too. Doubtless by this time his mind would be getting into a sea ofcommotion, and would fluctuate every moment in its resolves.AND THE COCK CREW—(See on Lu 22:34). This, then, was the First Denial.Peter's Second Denial of His Lord (Mr 14:69, 70).There is here a verbal difference among the Evangelists, which without some information whichhas been withheld, cannot be quite extricated.69. And a maid saw him again—or, "a girl." It might be rendered "the girl"; but this wouldnot necessarily mean the same one as before, but might, and probably does, mean just the femalewho had charge of the door or gate near which Peter now was. Accordingly, in Mt 26:71, she isexpressly called "another [maid]." But in Luke (Lu 22:58) it is a male servant: "And after a littlewhile [from the time of the first denial] another"—that is, as the word signifies, "another male"servant. But there is no real difficulty, as the challenge, probably, after being made by one wasreiterated by another. Accordingly, in John (Joh 18:25), it is, "They said therefore unto him, &c.—asif more than one challenged him at once.and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them—or, as in Mt 26:71—"This[fellow] was also with Jesus the Nazarene."70. And he denied it again—In Luke (Lu 22:58), "Man, I am not." But worst of all inMatthew—"And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man" (Mt 26:72). This was theSecond Denial, more vehement, alas! than the first.Peter's Third Denial of His Lord (Mr 14:70-72).70. And a little after—"about the space of one hour after" (Lu 22:59).they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilean,and thy speech agreeth thereto—"bewrayeth [or 'discovereth'] thee" (Mt 26:73). In Luke (Lu22:59) it is, "Another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this [fellow] also was with him: for2042JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonhe is a Galilean." The Galilean dialect had a more Syrian cast than that of Judea. If Peter had heldhis peace, this peculiarity had not been observed; but hoping, probably, to put them off the scentby joining in the fireside talk, he was thus discovered. The Fourth Gospel is particularly interestinghere: "One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman [or kinsman to him] whose earPeter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with Him?" (Joh 18:26). No doubt his relationshipto Malchus drew his attention to the man who had smitten him, and this enabled him to identifyPeter. "Sad reprisals!" exclaims Bengel. Poor Peter! Thou art caught in thine own toils; but like awild bull in a net, thou wilt toss and rage, filling up the measure of thy terrible declension by onemore denial of thy Lord, and that the foulest of all.71. But he began to curse—"anathematize," or wish himself accursed if what he was now tosay was not true.and to swear—or to take a solemn oath.saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.72. And the second time the cock crew—The other three Evangelists, who mention but onecrowing of the cock—and that not the first, but the second and last one of Mark—all say the cockcrew "immediately," but Luke (Lu 22:60) says, "Immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew."Alas!—But now comes the wonderful sequel.The Redeemer's Look upon Peter, and Peter's Bitter Tears (Mr 14:72; Lu 22:61, 62).It has been observed that while the beloved disciple is the only one of the four Evangelists whodoes not record the repentance of Peter, he is the only one of the four who records the affectingand most beautiful scene of his complete restoration (Joh 21:15-17).Lu 22:61:And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter—How? it will be asked. We answer,From the chamber in which the trial was going on, in the direction of the court wherePeter then stood—in the way already explained. See on Mr 14:66. Our SecondEvangelist makes no mention of this look, but dwells on the warning of his Lordabout the double crowing of the cock, which would announce his triple fall, as whatrushed stingingly to his recollection and made him dissolve in tears.And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice,thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept—To the same effect is thestatement of the First Evangelist (Mt 26:75), save that like "the beloved physician," he notices the"bitterness" of the weeping (Lu 22:62). The most precious link, however, in the whole chain ofcircumstances in this scene is beyond doubt that "look" of deepest, tenderest import reported byLuke alone (Lu 22:61). Who can tell what lightning flashes of wounded love and piercing reproachshot from that "look" through the eye of Peter into his heart!And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Beforethe cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.Lu 22:62:And Peter went out and wept bitterly—How different from the sequel of Judas'act! Doubtless the hearts of the two men towards the Saviour were perfectly different2043JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfrom the first; and the treason of Judas was but the consummation of the wretchedman's resistance of the blaze of light in the midst of which he had lived for threeyears, while Peter's denial was but a momentary obscuration of the heavenly lightand love to his Master which ruled his life. But the immediate cause of the blessedrevulsion which made Peter "weep bitterly" (Mt 26:75) was, beyond all doubt, thisheart-piercing "look" which his Lord gave him. And remembering the Saviour'sown words at the table, "Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he maysift you as wheat; but I prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Lu 22:31, 32), maywe not say that this prayer fetched down all that there was in that look to pierce andbreak the heart of Peter, to keep it from despair, to work in it "repentance untosalvation not to be repented of," and at length, under other healing touches, to "restorehis soul?" (See on Mr 16:7).CHAPTER 15Mr 15:1-20. Jesus Is Brought before Pilate—At a Second Hearing, Pilate, after Seeking to Release Him, DeliversHim Up—After Being Cruelly Entreated, He Is Led Away to Be Crucified. ( = Mt 26:1, 2, 11-31; Lu 23:1-6,13-25; Joh 18:28-19:16).See on Joh 18:28-19:16.Mr 15:21-37. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus. ( = Mt 27:32-50; Lu 23:26-46; Joh 19:17-30).See on Joh 19:17-30.Mr 15:38-47. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus.—He Is Taken Down from the Crossand Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mt 27:51-66; Lu 23:45, 47-56; Joh 19:31-42).See on Mt 27:51-56; and Joh 19:31-42.CHAPTER 16Mr 16:1-20. Angelic Announcement to the Women on the First Day of the Week, that Christ Is Risen—HisAppearances after His Resurrection—His Ascension—Triumphant Proclamation of His Gospel. ( = Mt 28:1-10,16-20; Lu 24:1-51; Joh 20:1, 2, 11-29).The Resurrection Announced to the Women (Mr 16:1-8).1. And when the sabbath was past—that is, at sunset of our Saturday.Mary Magdalene—(See on Lu 8:2).and Mary the mother of James—James the Less (see Mr 15:40).and Salome—the mother of Zebedee's sons (compare Mr 15:40 with Mt 27:56).had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him—The word is simply "bought."But our translators are perhaps right in rendering it here "had bought," since it would appear, fromLu 23:56, that they had purchased them immediately after the Crucifixion, on the Friday evening,during the short interval that remained to them before sunset, when the sabbath rest began; and thatthey had only deferred using them to anoint the body till the sabbath rest should be over. On this"anointing," see on Joh 19:40.2044JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. And very early in the morning—(See on Mt 28:1).the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun—not quiteliterally, but "at earliest dawn"; according to a way of speaking not uncommon, and occurringsometimes in the Old Testament. Thus our Lord rose on the third day; having lain in the grave partof Friday, the whole of Saturday, and part of the following First day.3. And they said among themselves—as they were approaching the sacred spot.Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? … for it was verygreat—On reaching it they find their difficulty gone—the stone already rolled away by an unseenhand. And are there no others who, when advancing to duty in the face of appalling difficulties,find their stone also rolled away?5. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man—In Mt 28:2 he is called "theangel of the Lord"; but here he is described as he appeared to the eye, in the bloom of a life thatknows no decay. In Matthew he is represented as sitting on the stone outside the sepulchre; butsince even there he says, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay" (Mt 28:6), he seems, as Alfordsays, to have gone in with them from without; only awaiting their arrival to accompany them intothe hallowed spot, and instruct them about it.sitting on the right side—having respect to the position in which His Lord had lain there. Thistrait is peculiar to Mark; but compare Lu 1:11.clothed in a long white garment—On its length, see Isa 6:1; and on its whiteness, see on Mt28:3.and they were affrighted.6. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted—a stronger word than "Fear not" in Matthew(Mt 28:5).Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified!—"the Nazarene, the Crucified."he is risen; he is not here—(See on Lu 24:5, 6).behold the place where they laid him—(See on Mt 28:6).7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter—This Second Gospel, being drawn up—asall the earliest tradition states—under the eye of Peter, or from materials chiefly furnished by him,there is something deeply affecting in the preservation of this little clause by Mark alone.that he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you—(See onMt 28:7).8. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre: for they trembled and wereamazed—"for tremor and amazement seized them."neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid—How intensely natural andsimple is this!Appearances of Jesus after His Resurrection (Mr 16:9-18).9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to MaryMagdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils—There is some difficulty here, and differentways of removing it have been adopted. She had gone with the other women to the sepulchre (Mr16:1), parting from them, perhaps, before their interview with the angel, and on finding Peter andJohn she had come with them back to the spot; and it was at this second visit, it would seem, thatJesus appeared to this Mary, as detailed in Joh 20:11-18. To a woman was this honor given to bethe first that saw the risen Redeemer, and that woman was NOT his virgin-mother.2045JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson11. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believednot—This, which is once and again repeated of them all, is most important in its bearing on theirsubsequent testimony to His resurrection at the risk of life itself.12. After that he appeared in another form—(compare Lu 24:16).unto two of them as they walked, and went into the country—The reference here, of course,is to His manifestation to the two disciples going to Emmaus, so exquisitely told by the ThirdEvangelist (see on Lu 24:13, &c.).13. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them, &c.15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to everycreature—See on Joh 20:19-23 and Lu 24:36-49.16. He that believeth and is baptized—Baptism is here put for the external signature of theinner faith of the heart, just as "confessing with the mouth" is in Ro 10:10; and there also as herethis outward manifestation, once mentioned as the proper fruit of faith, is not repeated in whatfollows (Ro 10:11).shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned—These awful issues of the receptionor rejection of the Gospel, though often recorded in other connections, are given in this connectiononly by Mark.17, 18. And these signs shall follow them that believe … They shall take up serpents—Thesetwo verses also are peculiar to Mark.The Ascension and Triumphant Proclamation of the Gospel Thereafter (Mr 16:19, 20).19. So then after the Lord—an epithet applied to Jesus by this Evangelist only in Mr 16:19,20, when He comes to His glorious Ascension and its subsequent fruits. It is most frequent in Luke.had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven—See on Lu 24:50, 51.and sat on the right hand of God—This great truth is here only related as a fact in the Gospelhistory. In that exalted attitude He appeared to Stephen (Ac 7:55, 56); and it is thereafter perpetuallyreferred to as His proper condition in glory.20. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, andconfirming the word with signs following. Amen—We have in this closing verse a most importantlink of connection with the Acts of the Apostles, where He who directed all the movements of theinfant Church is perpetually styled "The Lord"; thus illustrating His own promise for the roundingand building up of the Church, "Lo, I AM WITH You alway!"


      THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TOLUKECommentary by David BrownINTRODUCTIONThe writer of this Gospel is universally allowed to have been Lucas (an abbreviated form ofLucanus, as Silas of Silvanus), though he is not expressly named either in the Gospel or in the Acts.From Col 4:14 we learn that he was a "physician"; and by comparing that verse with Col 4:10,11—in which the apostle enumerates all those of the circumcision who were then with him, butdoes not mention Luke, though he immediately afterwards sends a salutation from him—we gatherthat Luke was not a born Jew. Some have thought he was a freed-man (libertinus), as the Romans2046JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesondevolved the healing art on persons of this class and on their slaves, as an occupation beneaththemselves. His intimate acquaintance with Jewish customs, and his facility in Hebraic Greek,seem to show that he was an early convert to the Jewish faith; and this is curiously confirmed byAc 21:27-29, where we find the Jews enraged at Paul's supposed introduction of Greeks into thetemple, because they had seen "Trophimus the Ephesian" with him; and as we know that Luke waswith Paul on that occasion, it would seem that they had taken him for a Jew, as they made nomention of him. On the other hand, his fluency in classical Greek confirms his Gentile origin. Thetime when he joined Paul's company is clearly indicated in the Acts by his changing (at Ac 16:10)from the third person singular ("he") to the first person plural ("we"). From that time he hardly everleft the apostle till near the period of his martyrdom (2Ti 4:11). Eusebius makes him a native ofAntioch. If so, he would have every advantage for cultivating the literature of Greece and suchmedical knowledge as was then possessed. That he died a natural death is generally agreed amongthe ancients; Gregory Nazianzen alone affirming that he died a martyr.The time and place of the publication of his Gospel are alike uncertain. But we can approximateto it. It must at any rate have been issued before the Acts, for there the 'Gospel' is expressly referredto as the same author's "former treatise" (Ac 1:1). Now the Book of the Acts was not published fortwo whole years after Paul's arrival as a prisoner at Rome, for it concludes with a reference to thisperiod; but probably it was published soon after that, which would appear to have been early in theyear 63. Before that time, then, we have reason to believe that the Gospel of Luke was in circulation,though the majority of critics make it later. If we date it somewhere between A.D. 50 and 60, weshall probably be near the truth; but nearer it we cannot with any certainty come. Conjectures asto the place of publication are too uncertain to be mentioned here.That it was addressed, in the first instance, to Gentile readers, is beyond doubt. This is no more,as Davidson remarks [Introduction to the New Testament, p. 186], than was to have been expectedfrom the companion of an "apostle of the Gentiles," who had witnessed marvellous changes in thecondition of many heathens by the reception of the Gospel. But the explanations in his Gospel ofthings known to every Jew, and which could only be intended for Gentile readers, make this quiteplain—see Lu 1:26; 4:31; 8:26; 21:37; 22:1; 24:13. A number of other minute particulars, both ofthings inserted and of things omitted, confirm the conclusion that it was Gentiles whom thisEvangelist had in the first instance in view.We have already adverted to the classical style of Greek which this Evangelist writes—justwhat might have been expected from an educated Greek and travelled physician. But we have alsoobserved that along with this he shows a wonderful flexibility of style, so much so, that when hecomes to relate transactions wholly Jewish, where the speakers and actors and incidents are allJewish, he writes in such Jewish Greek as one would do who had never been out of Palestine ormixed with any but Jews. In Da Costa's'S Four Witnesses will be found some traces of "the belovedphysician" in this Gospel. But far more striking and important are the traces in it of his intimateconnection with the apostle of the Gentiles. That one who was so long and so constantly in thesociety of that master mind has in such a work as this shown no traces of that connection, no stampof that mind, is hardly to be believed. Writers of Introductions seem not to see it, and take no noticeof it. But those who look into the interior of it will soon discover evidences enough in it of a Paulinecast of mind. Referring for a number of details to Da Costa, we notice here only two examples: In1Co 11:23, Paul ascribes to an express revelation from Christ Himself the account of the Institutionof the Lord's Supper which he there gives. Now, if we find this account differing in small yet striking2047JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonparticulars from the accounts given by Matthew and Mark, but agreeing to the letter with Luke'saccount, it can hardly admit of a doubt that the one had it from the other; and in that case, of course,it was Luke that had it from Paul. Now Matthew and Mark both say of the Cup, "This is my bloodof the New Testament"; while Paul and Luke say, in identical terms, "This cup is the New Testamentin My blood" (1Co 11:25; Lu 22:20). Further, Luke says, "Likewise also the cup after supper,saying," &c.; while Paul says, "After the same manner He took the cup when He had supped,saying," &c.; whereas neither Matthew nor Mark mention that this was after supper. But still morestriking is another point of coincidence in this case. Matthew and Mark both say of the Bread merelythis: "Take, eat; this is My body" (Mt 26:26; Mr 14:22); whereas Paul says, "Take, eat, this is Mybody, which is broken for you" (1Co 11:24), and Luke, "This is My body, which is given for you"(Lu 22:19). And while Paul adds the precious clause, "This do in remembrance of Me," Luke doesthe same, in identical terms. How can one who reflects on this resist the conviction of a Paulinestamp in this Gospel? The other proof of this to which we ask the reader's attention is in the factthat Paul, in enumerating the parties by whom Christ was seen after His resurrection, begins,singularly enough, with Peter—"And that He rose again the third day according to the Scripturesand that He was seen of Cephas, then of the Twelve" (1Co 15:4, 5)—coupled with the remarkablefact, that Luke is the only one of the Evangelists who mentions that Christ appeared to Peter at all.When the disciples had returned from Emmaus to tell their brethren how the Lord had appeared tothem in the way, and how He had made Himself known to them in the breaking of bread, they weremet, as Luke relates, ere they had time to utter a word, with this wonderful piece of news, "TheLord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon" (Lu 24:34).Other points connected with this Gospel will be adverted to in the Commentary.CHAPTER 1Lu 1:1-4.It appears from the Acts of the Apostles, and the Apostolic Epistles, that the earliest preachingof the Gospel consisted of a brief summary of the facts of our Lord's earthly history, with a fewwords of pointed application to the parties addressed. Of these astonishing facts, notes wouldnaturally be taken and digests put into circulation. It is to such that Luke here refers; and in termsof studied respect, as narratives of what was "believed surely," or "on sure grounds" amongChristians, and drawn up from the testimony of "eye-witnesses and ministering servants of theword." But when he adds that "it seemed good to him also to write in order, having traced downall things with exactness from their first rise," it is a virtual claim for his own Gospel to supersedethese "many" narratives. Accordingly, while not one of them has survived the wreck of time, thisand the other canonical Gospels live, and shall live, the only fitting vehicles of those life-bringingfacts which have made all things new. Apocryphal or spurious gospels, upheld by parties unfriendlyto the truths exhibited in the canonical Gospels, have not perished; but those well-meant andsubstantially correct narratives here referred to, used only while better were not to be had, were bytacit consent allowed to merge in the four peerless documents which from age to age, and withastonishing unanimity, have been accepted as the written charter of all Christianity.1. set forth in order—more simply, to draw up a narrative.2. from the beginning—that is, of His public ministry, as is plain from what follows.2048JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. from the very first—that is, from the very earliest events; referring to those precious detailsof the birth and early life, not only of our Lord, but of His forerunner, which we owe to Luke alone.in order—or "consecutively"—in contrast, probably, with the disjointed productions to whichhe had referred. But this must not be pressed too far; for, on comparing it with the other Gospels,we see that in some particulars the strict chronological order is not observed in this Gospel.most excellent—or "most noble"—a title of rank applied by this same writer twice to Felixand once to Festus (Ac 22:26; 24:3; 26:25). It is likely, therefore, that "Theophilus" was chiefmagistrate of some city in Greece or Asia Minor [Webster and Wilkinson].4. that thou mightest know—"know thoroughly."hast been instructed—orally instructed—literally, "catechized" or "catechetically taught," atfirst as a catechumen or candidate for Christian baptism.Lu 1:5-25. Announcement of the Forerunner.5. Herod—(See on Mt 2:1).course of Abia—or Abijah; the eighth of the twenty-four orders of courses into which Daviddivided the priests (see 1Ch 24:1, 4, 10). Of these courses only four returned after the captivity(Ezr 2:34-39), which were again subdivided into twenty-four—retaining the ancient name and orderof each. They took the whole temple service for a week each.his wife was of the daughters of Aaron—The priests might marry into any tribe, but "it wasmost commendable of all to marry one of the priests' line" [Lightfoot].6. commandments and ordinances—The one expressing their moral—the other theirceremonial—obedience [Calvin and Bengel], (Compare Eze 11:20; Heb 9:1). It has been denied thatany such distinction was known to the Jews and New Testament writers. But Mr 12:33, and otherpassages, put this beyond all reasonable doubt.7. So with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Elkanah and Hannah, Manoah and his wife.9. his lot was to burn incense—The part assigned to each priest in his week of service wasdecided by lot. Three were employed at the offering of incense—to remove the ashes of the formerservice; to bring in and place on the golden altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken fromthe altar of burnt offering; and to sprinkle the incense on the hot coals; and, while the smoke of itascended, to make intercession for the people. This was the most distinguished part of the service(Re 8:3), and this was what fell to the lot of Zacharias at this time [Lightfoot].10. praying without—outside the court in front of the temple, where stood the altar of burntoffering; the men and women in separate courts, but the altar visible to all.the time of incense—which was offered along with the morning and evening sacrifice of everyday; a beautiful symbol of the acceptableness of the sacrifice offered on the altar of burnt offering,with coals from whose altar the incense was burnt (Le 16:12, 13). This again was a symbol of the"living sacrifice" of themselves and their services offered daily to God by the worshippers. Hencethe language of Ps 141:2; Re 8:3. But that the acceptance of this daily offering depended on theexpiatory virtue presupposed in the burnt offering, and pointing to the one "sacrifice of asweet-smelling savor" (Eph 5:2), is evident from Isa 6:6, 7.11. right side—the south side, between the altar and the candlestick, Zacharias being on thenorth side, in front of the altar, while offering incense [Webster and Wilkinson]. But why there? Theright was the favorable side (Mt 25:33) [Schottgen and Westein in Meyer]; compare Mr 16:5.13. thy prayer is heard—doubtless for offspring, which by some presentiment he even yet hadnot despaired of.2049JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonJohn—the same as "Johanan," so frequent in the Old Testament, meaning "Jehovah's graciousgift."14. shall rejoice—so they did (Lu 1:58, 66); but the meaning rather is, "shall have cause torejoice"—it would prove to many a joyful event.15. great in the sight of the Lord—nearer to Him in official standing than all the prophets.(See Mt 11:10, 11.)drink neither wine nor strong drink—that is, shall be a Nazarite, or "a separated one" (Nu6:2, &c.). As the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the Nazarite of holiness; nothinginflaming was to cross his lips; no razor to come on his head; no ceremonial defilement to becontracted. Thus was he to be "holy to the Lord [ceremonially] all the days of his separation." Thisseparation was in ordinary cases temporary and voluntary: only Samson (Jud 13:7), Samuel (1Sa1:11), and John Baptist were Nazarites from the womb. It was fitting that the utmost severity oflegal consecration should be seen in Christ's forerunner. He was the Reality and Perfection of theNazarite without the symbol, which perished in that living realization of it: "Such an High Priestbecame us, who was Separate from Sinners" (Heb 7:26).filled with the Holy Ghost, from … womb—a holy vessel for future service.16, 17. A religious and moral reformer, Elijah-like, he should be (Mal 4:6, where the "turningof the people's heart to the Lord" is borrowed from 1Ki 18:37). In both cases their success, thoughgreat, was partial—the nation was not gained.17. before him—before "the Lord their God" (Lu 1:16). By comparing this with Mal 3:1 andIsa 40:3, it is plainly "Jehovah" in the flesh of Messiah [Calvin and Olshausen] before whom John wasto go as a herald to announce His approach, and a pioneer o prepare His way.in the spirit—after the model.and power of Elias—not his miraculous power, for John did no miracle" (Joh 10:41), but hispower "turning the heart," or with like success in his ministry. Both fell on degenerate times; bothwitnessed fearlessly for God; neither appeared much save in the direct exercise of their ministry;both were at the head of schools of disciples; the success of both was similar.fathers to the children—taken literally, this denotes the restoration of parental fidelity [Meyerand others], the decay of which is the beginning of religious and social corruption—one prominentfeature of the coming revival being put for the whole. But what follows, explanatory of this, rathersuggests a figurative sense. If "the disobedient" be "the children," and to "the fathers" belongs "thewisdom of the just" [Bengel], the meaning will be, "he shall bring back the ancient spirit of the nationinto their degenerate children" [Calvin, &c.]. So Elijah invoked "the God Abraham, Isaac, andIsrael," when seeking to "turn their heart back again" (1Ki 18:36, 37).to make ready, &c.—more clearly, "to make ready for the Lord a prepared people," to havein readiness a people prepared to welcome Him. Such preparation requires, in every age and everysoul, an operation corresponding to the Baptist's ministry.18. Whereby, &c.—Mary believed what was far harder without a sign. Abraham, though older,and doubtless Sarah, too, when the same promise was made to him, "staggered not at the promiseof God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." This was that in whichZacharias failed.19. Gabriel—signifying "man of God," the same who appeared to Daniel at the time of incense(Da 9:21) and to Mary (Lu 1:26).stand, &c.—as his attendant (compare 1Ki 17:1).2050JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson20. dumb—speechless.not able—deprived of the power of speech (Lu 1:64). He asked a sign, and now he got it.until the day that these things shall be performed—See on Lu 1:64.21. waited—to receive from him the usual benediction (Nu 6:23-27).tarried so long—It was not usual to tarry long, lest it should be thought vengeance had strickenthe people's representative for something wrong [Lightfoot].22. speechless—dumb, and deaf also (see Lu 1:62).24. hid five months—till the event was put beyond doubt and became apparent.Lu 1:26-38. Annunciation of Christ.(See on Mt 1:18-21).26. sixth month—of Elisabeth's time.Joseph, of the house of David—(See on Mt 1:16).28. highly favoured—a word only once used elsewhere (Eph 1:6, "made accepted"): compareLu 1:30, "Thou hast found favour with God." The mistake of the Vulgate's rendering, "full of grace,"has been taken abundant advantage of by the Romish Church. As the mother of our Lord, she wasthe most "blessed among women" in external distinction; but let them listen to the Lord's ownwords. "Nay, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it." (See on Lu 11:27).31. The angel purposely conforms his language to Isaiah's famous prophecy (Isa 7:14) [Calvin].32, 33. This is but an echo of the sublime prediction in Isa 9:6, 7.34. How, &c.—not the unbelief of Zacharias, "Whereby shall I know this?" but, taking the factfor granted, "How is it to be, so contrary to the unbroken law of human birth?" Instead of reproof,therefore, her question is answered in mysterious detail.35. Holy Ghost—(See on Mt 1:18).power of the highest—the immediate energy of the Godhead conveyed by the Holy Ghost.overshadow—a word suggesting how gentle, while yet efficacious, would be this Power [Bengel];and its mysterious secrecy, withdrawn, as if by a cloud, from human scrutiny [Calvin].that holy thing born of thee—that holy Offspring of thine.therefore … Son of God—That Christ is the Son of God in His divine and eternal nature isclear from all the New Testament; yet here we see that Sonship efflorescing into human and palpablemanifestation by His being born, through "the power of the Highest," an Infant of days. We mustneither think of a double Sonship, as some do, harshly and without all ground, nor deny what ishere plainly expressed, the connection between His human birth and His proper personal Sonship.36. thy cousin—"relative," but how near the word says not.conceived, &c.—This was to Mary an unsought sign, in reward of her faith.37. For, &c.—referring to what was said by the angel to Abraham in like case (Ge 18:14), tostrengthen her faith.38. Marvellous faith in such circumstances!Lu 1:39-56. Visit of Mary to Elisabeth.39. hill country—the mountainous tract running along the middle of Judea, from north to south[Webster and Wilkinson].with haste—transported with the announcement to herself and with the tidings, now first madeknown to her, of Elisabeth's condition.a city of Juda—probably Hebron (see Jos 20:7; 21:11).40. saluted Elisabeth—now returned from her seclusion (Lu 1:24).2051JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson41. babe leaped—From Lu 1:44 it is plain that this maternal sensation was somethingextraordinary—a sympathetic emotion of the unconscious babe, at the presence of the mother ofhis Lord.42-44. What beautiful superiority to envy have we here! High as was the distinction conferredupon herself, Elisabeth loses sight of it altogether, in presence of one more honored still; uponwhom, with her unborn Babe, in an ecstasy of inspiration, she pronounces a benediction, feelingit to be a wonder unaccountable that "the mother of her Lord should come to her." "Turn this aswe will, we shall never be able to see the propriety of calling an unborn child "Lord," but bysupposing Elisabeth, like the prophets of old, enlightened to perceive the Messiah's Divine nature"[Olshausen].43. "The mother of my Lord"—but not "My Lady" (compare Lu 20:42; Joh 20:28)" [Bengel].45. An additional benediction on the Virgin for her implicit faith, in tacit and delicate contrastwith her own husband.for—rather, as in the Margin, "that."46-55. A magnificent canticle, in which the strain of Hannah's ancient song, in like circumstances,is caught up, and just slightly modified and sublimed. Is it unnatural to suppose that the spirit ofthe blessed Virgin had been drawn beforehand into mysterious sympathy with the ideas and thetone of this hymn, so that when the life and fire of inspiration penetrated her whole soul itspontaneously swept the chorus of this song, enriching the Hymnal of the Church with thatspirit-stirring canticle which has resounded ever since from its temple walls? In both songs, thoseholy women, filled with wonder to behold "the proud, the mighty, the rich," passed by, and, in theirpersons the lowliest chosen to usher in the greatest events, sing of this as no capricious movement,but a great law of the kingdom of God, by which He delights to "put down the mighty from theirseats and exalt them of low degree." In both songs the strain dies away on Christ; in Hannah's underthe name of "Jehovah's King"—to whom, through all His line, from David onwards to Himself,He will "give strength"; His "Anointed," whose horn He will exalt (1Sa 2:10); in the Virgin's song,it is as the "Help" promised to Israel by all the prophets.My soul … my spirit—"all that is within me" (Ps 103:1).47. my Saviour—Mary, poor heart, never dreamt, we see, of her own "immaculateconception"—in the offensive language of the Romanists—any more than of her own immaculatelife.54. holpen—Compare Ps 89:19, "I have laid help on One that is mighty."55. As he spake to our fathers—The sense requires this clause to be read as a parenthesis.(Compare Mic 7:20; Ps 98:3).for ever—the perpetuity of Messiah's kingdom, as expressly promised by the angel (Lu 1:33).56. abode with her about three months—What an honored roof was that which, for such aperiod, overarched these cousins! and yet not a trace of it is now to be seen, while the progeny ofthose two women—the one but the honored pioneer of the other—have made the world new.returned to her own house—at Nazareth, after which took place what is recorded in Mt1:18-25.Lu 1:57-80. Birth and Circumcision of John—Song of Zacharias and Progress of the Child.59. eighth day—The law (Ge 17:12) was observed, even though the eighth day after birthshould be a sabbath (Joh 7:23; and see Php 3:5).2052JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncalled him—literally, "were calling"—that is, (as we should say) "were for calling." The namingof children at baptism has its origin in the Jewish custom at circumcision (Ge 21:3, 4); and thenames of Abram and Sarai were changed at its first performance (Ge 17:5, 15).62. made signs—showing he was deaf, as well as dumb.63. marvelled all—at his giving the same name, not knowing of any communication betweenthem on the subject.64. mouth opened immediately—on thus palpably showing his full faith in the vision, fordisbelieving which he had been struck dumb (Lu 1:13, 20).65. fear—religious awe; under the impression that God's hand was specially in these events(compare Lu 5:26; 7:16; 8:37).66. hand of the Lord was with him—by special tokens marking him out as one destined tosome great work (1Ki 18:46; 2Ki 3:15; Ac 11:21).68-79. There is not a word in this noble burst of divine song about his own child; like Elisabethlosing sight entirely of self, in the glory of a Greater than both.Lord God of Israel—the ancient covenant God of the peculiar people.visited and redeemed—that is, in order to redeem: returned after long absence, and brokenHis long silence (see Mt 15:31). In the Old Testament, God is said to "visit" chiefly for judgment,in the New Testament for mercy. Zacharias would, as yet, have but imperfect views of such "visitingand redeeming," "saving from and delivering out of the hand of enemies" (Lu 1:71, 74). But thisOld Testament phraseology, used at first with a lower reference, is, when viewed in the light of aloftier and more comprehensive kingdom of God, equally adapted to express the most spiritualconceptions of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.69. horn of salvation—that is "strength of salvation," or "mighty Salvation," meaning theSaviour Himself, whom Simeon calls "Thy Salvation" (Lu 2:30). The metaphor is taken from thoseanimals whose strength is in their horns (Ps 18:2; 75:10; 132:17).house of … David—This shows that Mary must have been known to be of the royal line,independent of Joseph; of whom Zacharias, if he knew anything, could not know that after this hewould recognize Mary.70. since the world began—or, "from the earliest period."72. the mercy promised … his holy covenant …73. the oath … to … Abraham—The whole work and kingdom of Messiah is represented asa mercy pledged on oath to Abraham and his seed, to be realized at an appointed period; and atlength, in "the fulness of the time," gloriously made good. Hence, not only "grace," or the thingpromised; but "truth," or fidelity to the promise, are said to "come by Jesus Christ" (Joh 1:17).74, 75. That he would grant us, &c.—How comprehensive is the view here given! (1) Thepurpose of all redemption—"that we should serve Him"—that is, "the Lord God of Israel" (Lu1:68). The word signifies religious service distinctively—"the priesthood of the New Testament"[Bengel]. (2) The nature of this service—"in holiness and righteousness before Him" (Lu 1:75)—or,as in His presence (compare Ps 56:13). (3) Its freedom—"being delivered out of the hand of ourenemies." (4) Its fearlessness—"might serve Him without fear." (5) Its duration—"all the days ofour life."76-79. Here are the dying echoes of this song; and very beautiful are these closing notes—likethe setting sun, shorn indeed of its noontide radiance, but skirting the horizon with a wavy andquivering light—as of molten gold—on which the eye delights to gaze, till it disappears from the2053JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonview. The song passes not here from Christ to John, but only from Christ direct to Christ as heraldedby His forerunner.thou child—not "my son"—this child's relation to himself being lost in his relation to a Greaterthan either.prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before him—that is, "the Highest." As "the MostHigh" is an epithet in Scripture only of the supreme God, it is inconceivable that inspiration shouldapply this term, as here undeniably, to Christ, unless He were "God over all blessed for ever" (Ro9:5).77. to give knowledge of salvation—To sound the note of a needed and provided "salvation"was the noble office of John, above all that preceded him; as it is that of all subsequent ministersof Christ; but infinitely loftier was it to be the "Salvation" itself (Lu 1:69 and Lu 2:30).by the remission of … sins—This stamps at once the spiritual nature of the salvation hereintended, and explains Lu 1:71, 74.78. Through the tender mercy of our God—the sole spring, necessarily, of all salvation forsinners.dayspring from on high—either Christ Himself, as the "Sun of righteousness" (Mal 4:2),arising on a dark world [Beza, Grotius, Calvin, De Wette, Olshausen, &c.], or the light which He sheds.The sense, of course, is one.79. (Compare Isa 9:2; Mt 4:13-17). "That St. Luke, of all the Evangelists, should have obtainedand recorded these inspired utterances of Zacharias and Mary—is in accordance with his characterand habits, as indicated in Lu 1:1-4" [Webster and Wilkinson].80. And the child, &c.—"a concluding paragraph, indicating, in strokes full of grandeur, thebodily and mental development of the Baptist; and bringing his life up to the period of his publicappearance" [Olshausen].in the deserts—probably "the wilderness of Judea" (Mt 3:1), whither he had retired early inlife, in the Nazarite spirit, and where, free from rabbinical influences and alone with God, his spiritwould be educated, like Moses in the desert, for his future high vocation.his showing unto Israel—the presentation of himself before his nation, as Messiah's forerunner.CHAPTER 2Lu 2:1-7. Birth of Christ.1. Cæsar Augustus—the first of the Roman emperors.all the world—so the vast Roman Empire was termed.taxed—enrolled, or register themselves.2. first … when Cyrenius, &c.—a very perplexing verse, inasmuch as Cyrenius, or Quirinus,appears not to have been governor of Syria for about ten years after the birth of Christ, and the"taxing" under his administration was what led to the insurrection mentioned in Ac 5:37. That therewas a taxing, however, of the whole Roman Empire under Augustus, is now admitted by all; andcandid critics, even of skeptical tendency, are ready to allow that there is not likely to be any realinaccuracy in the statement of our Evangelist. Many superior scholars would render the words thus,"This registration was previous to Cyrenius being governor of Syria"—as the word "first" is renderedin Joh 1:15; 15:18. In this case, of course, the difficulty vanishes. But it is perhaps better to suppose,2054JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwith others, that the registration may have been ordered with a view to the taxation, about the timeof our Lord's birth, though the taxing itself—an obnoxious measure in Palestine—was not carriedout till the time of Quirinus.3. went … to his own city—the city of his extraction, according to the Jewish custom, not ofhis abode, which was the usual Roman method.4, 5. Not only does Joseph, who was of the royal line, go to Bethlehem (1Sa 16:1), but Marytoo—not from choice surely in her condition, but, probably, for personal enrollment, as herself anheiress.5. espoused wife—now, without doubt, taken home to him, as related in Mt 1:18; 25:6.6. while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered—Maryhad up to this time been living at the wrong place for Messiah's birth. A little longer stay at Nazareth,and the prophecy would have failed. But lo! with no intention certainly on her part, much less ofCæsar Augustus, to fulfil the prophecy, she is brought from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and at thatnick of time her period arrives, and her Babe is born (Ps 118:23). "Every creature walks blindfold;only He that dwells in light knows whether they go" [Bishop Hall].7. first-born—So Mt 1:25; yet the law, in speaking of the first-born, regardeth not whether anywere born after or no, but only that none were born before [Lightfoot].wrapt him … laid him—The mother herself did so. Had she then none to help her? It wouldseem so (2Co 8:9).a manger—the manger, the bench to which the horses' heads were tied, on which their foodcould rest [Webster and Wilkinson].no room in the inn—a square erection, open inside, where travellers put up, and whose rearparts were used as stables. The ancient tradition, that our Lord was born in a grotto or cave, is quiteconsistent with this, the country being rocky. In Mary's condition the journey would be a slow one,and ere they arrived, the inn would be fully occupied—affecting anticipation of the reception Hewas throughout to meet with (Joh 1:11).Wrapt in His swaddling—bands,And in His manger laid,The hope and glory of all landsIs come to the world's aid.No peaceful home upon His cradle smiled,Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal Child.KebleBut some "guests went and came" not "rudely," but reverently. God sent visitors of His own topay court to the new-born King.Lu 2:8-20. Angelic Annunciation to the Shepherds—Their Visit to the Newborn Babe.8. abiding in the fields—staying there, probably in huts or tents.watch … by night—or, night watches, taking their turn of watching. From about passover timein April until autumn, the flocks pastured constantly in the open fields, the shepherds lodging thereall that time. (From this it seems plain that the period of the year usually assigned to our Lord'sbirth is too late). Were these shepherds chosen to have the first sight of the blessed Babe withoutany respect of their own state of mind? That, at least, is not God's way. "No doubt, like Simeon(Lu 2:25), they were among the waiters for the Consolation of Israel" [Olshausen]; and, if the simplicity2055JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonof their rustic minds, their quiet occupation, the stillness of the midnight hours, and the amplitudeof the deep blue vault above them for the heavenly music which was to fill their ear, pointed themout as fit recipients for the first tidings of an Infant Saviour, the congenial meditations andconversations by which, we may suppose, they would beguile the tedious hours would perfect theirpreparation for the unexpected visit. Thus was Nathanael engaged, all alone but not unseen, underthe fig tree, in unconscious preparation for his first interview with Jesus. (See on Joh 1:48). So wasthe rapt seer on his lonely rock "in the spirit on the Lord's Day," little thinking that this was hispreparation for hearing behind him the trumpet voice of the Son of man (Re 1:10, &c.). But if theshepherds in His immediate neighborhood had the first, the sages from afar had the next sight ofthe new-born King. Even so still, simplicity first, science next, finds its way to Christ, whomIn quiet ever and in shadeShepherds and Sage may find—They, who have bowed untaught to Nature's sway,And they, who follow Truth along her star-pav'd way.Keble9. glory of the Lord—"the brightness or glory which is represented as encompassing allheavenly visions" [Olshausen].sore afraid—So it ever was (Da 10:7, 8; Lu 1:12; Re 1:17). Men have never felt easy with theinvisible world laid suddenly open to their gaze. It was never meant to be permanent; a momentarypurpose was all it was intended to serve.10. to all people—"to the whole people," that is, of Israel; to be by them afterwards opened upto the whole world. (See on Lu 2:14).11. unto you is born—you shepherds, Israel, mankind [Bengel]. Compare Isa 9:6, "Unto us aChild is born." It is a birth—"The Word is made flesh" (Joh 1:14). When? "This day." Where? "Inthe city of David"—in the right line and at the right "spot"; where prophecy bade us look for Him,and faith accordingly expected Him. How dear to us should be these historic moorings of our faith!With the loss of them, all substantial Christianity is lost. By means of them how many have beenkept from making shipwreck, and attained to a certain external admiration of Him, ere yet theyhave fully "beheld His glory."a Saviour—not One who shall be a Saviour, but "born a Saviour."Christ the Lord—"magnificent appellation!" [Bengel]. "This is the only place where these wordscome together; and I see no way of understanding this "Lord" but as corresponding to the HebrewJehovah" [Alford].12. a sign—"the sign."the babe—"a Babe."a manger—"the manger." The sign was to consist, it seems, solely in the overpowering contrastbetween the things just said of Him and the lowly condition in which they would find Him—Himwhose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, "ye shall find a Babe"; whom theheaven of heavens cannot contain, "wrapt in swaddling bands"; the "Saviour, Christ the Lord,"lying in a manger! Thus early were these amazing contrasts, which are His chosen style, held forth.(See 2Co 8:9.)13. suddenly—as if only waiting till their fellow had done.2056JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwith the angel—who retires not, but is joined by others, come to seal and to celebrate thetidings he has brought.heavenly host—or "army," an army celebrating peace! [Bengel] "transferring the occupation oftheir exalted station to this poor earth, which so seldom resounds with the pure praise of God"[Olshausen]; to let it be known how this event is regarded in heaven and should be regarded on earth.14. Glory, &c.—brief but transporting hymn—not only in articulate human speech, for ourbenefit, but in tunable measure, in the form of a Hebrew parallelism of two complete clauses, anda third one only amplifying the second, and so without a connecting "and." The "glory to God,"which the new-born "Saviour" was to bring, is the first note of this sublime hymn: to this answers,in the second clause, the "peace on earth," of which He was to be "the Prince" (Isa 9:6)—probablysung responsively by the celestial choir; while quickly follows the glad echo of this note, probablyby a third detachment of the angelic choristers—"good will to men." "They say not, glory to Godin heaven, where angels are, but, using a rare expression, "in the highest [heavens]," whither angelsaspire not," (Heb 1:3, 4) [Bengel]. "Peace" with God is the grand necessity of a fallen world. Tobring in this, and all other peace in its train, was the prime errand of the Saviour to this earth, and,along with it, Heaven's whole "good will to men"—the divine complacency on a newfooting—descends to rest upon men, as upon the Son Himself, in whom God is "well-pleased."(Mt 3:17, the same word as here.)15. Let us go, &c.—lovely simplicity of devoutness and faith this! They are not taken up withthe angels, the glory that invested them, and the lofty strains with which they filled the air. Nor dothey say, Let us go and see if this be true—they have no misgivings. But "Let us go and see thisthing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." Does not this confirm theview given on Lu 2:8 of the spirit of these humble men?16. with haste—Compare Lu 1:39; Mt 28:8 ("did run"); Joh 4:28 ("left her water-pot," as theydo their flocks, in a transport).found Mary, &c.—"mysteriously guided by the Spirit to the right place through the obscurityof the night" [Olshausen].a manger—"the manger," as before.17. made known abroad—before their return (Lu 2:20), and thus were the first evangelists[Bengel].20. glorifying and praising God, &c.—The latter word, used of the song of the angels (Lu2:13), and in Lu 19:37, and Lu 24:53, leads us to suppose that theirs was a song too, probably somecanticle from the Psalter—meet vehicle for the swelling emotions of their simple hearts at what"they had heard and seen."Lu 2:21. Circumcision of Christ.Here only recorded, and even here merely alluded to, for the sake of the name then given to theholy Babe, "Jesus," or Saviour (Mt 1:21; Ac 13:23). Yet in this naming of Him "Saviour," in the actof circumcising Him, which was a symbolical and bloody removal of the body of sin, we have atacit intimation that they "had need"—as John said of His Baptism—rather to be circumcised byHim "with the circumcision made without hands, in the putting off of the body [of the sins] of theflesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col 2:11), and that He only "suffered it to be so, because thusit became Him to fulfil all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). Still the circumcision of Christ had a profoundbearing on His own work—by few rightly apprehended. For since "he that is circumcised is a debtorto do the whole law" (Ga 5:3), Jesus thus bore about with Him in His very flesh the seal of a2057JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonvoluntary obligation to do the whole law—by Him only possible in the flesh since the fall. And asHe was "made under the law" for no ends of His own, but only "to redeem them that were underthe law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Ga 4:4, 5), the obedience to which Hiscircumcision pledged Him was a redeeming obedience—that of a "Saviour." And, finally, as "Christhath redeemed us from the curse of the law" by "being made a curse for us" (Ga 3:13), we mustregard Him, in His circumcision, as brought under a palpable pledge to be "obedient unto death,even the death of the cross" (Php 2:8).Lu 2:22-40. Purification of the Virgin—Presentation of the Babe in the Temple-Scene There with Simeon andAnna.22, 24. her purification—Though the most and best copies read "their," it was the mother onlywho needed purifying from the legal uncleanness of childbearing. "The days" of this purificationfor a male child were forty in all (Le 12:2, 4), on the expiry of which the mother was required tooffer a lamb for a burnt offering, and a turtle dove or a young pigeon for a sin offering. If she couldnot afford a lamb, the mother had to bring another turtle dove or young pigeon; and, if even thiswas beyond her means, then a portion of fine flour, but without the usual fragrant accompanimentsof oil and frankincense, as it represented a sin offering (Le 12:6-8; 5:7-11). From the intermediateoffering of "a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons," we gather that Joseph and the Virgin werein poor circumstances (2Co 8:9), though not in abject poverty. Being a first-born male, they "bringhim to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord." All such had been claimed as "holy to the Lord," orset apart to sacred uses, in memory of the deliverance of the first-born of Israel from destructionin Egypt, through the sprinkling of blood (Ex 13:2). In lieu of these, however, one whole tribe, thatof Levi, was accepted, and set apart to occupations exclusively sacred (Nu 3:11-38); and whereasthere were two hundred seventy-three fewer Levites than first-born of all Israel on the first reckoning,each of these first-born was to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels, yet not without being"presented (or brought) unto the Lord," in token of His rightful claim to them and their service (Nu3:44-47; 18:15, 16). It was in obedience to this "law of Moses," that the Virgin presented her babeunto the Lord, "in the east gate of the court called Nicanor's Gate, where she herself would besprinkled by the priest with the blood of her sacrifice" [Lightfoot]. By that Babe, in due time, wewere to be redeemed, "not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious bloodof Christ" (1Pe 1:18, 19), and the consuming of the mother's burnt offering, and the sprinkling ofher with the blood of her sin offering, were to find their abiding realization in the "living sacrifice"of the Christian mother herself, in the fulness of a "heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," by"the blood which cleanseth from all sin."25. just—upright in his moral character.devout—of a religious frame of spirit.waiting for the consolation of Israel—a beautiful title of the coming Messiah, here intended.the Holy Ghost was—supernaturally.upon him—Thus was the Spirit, after a dreary absence of nearly four hundred years, returningto the Church, to quicken expectation, and prepare for coming events.26. revealed by the Holy Ghost—implying, beyond all doubt, the personality of the Spirit.should see not death till he had seen—"sweet antithesis!" [Bengel]. How would the one sightgild the gloom of the other! He was, probably, by this time, advanced in years.27, 28. The Spirit guided him to the temple at the very moment when the Virgin was about topresent Him to the Lord.2058JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson28. took him up in his arms—immediately recognizing in the child, with unhesitating certainty,the promised Messiah, without needing Mary to inform him of what had happened to her. [Olshausen].The remarkable act of taking the babe in his arms must not be overlooked. It was as if he said, "Thisis all my salvation and all my desire" (2Sa 23:5).29. Lord—"Master," a word rarely used in the New Testament, and selected here with peculiarpropriety, when the aged saint, feeling that his last object in wishing to live had now been attained,only awaited his Master's word of command to "depart."now lettest, &c.—more clearly, "now Thou art releasing Thy servant"; a patient yet reverentialmode of expressing a desire to depart.30. seen thy salvation—Many saw this child, nay, the full-grown "man, Christ Jesus," whonever saw in Him "God's Salvation." This estimate of an object of sight, an unconscious, helplessbabe, was pure faith. He "beheld His glory" (Joh 1:14). In another view it was prior faith rewardedby present sight.31, 32. all people—all the peoples, mankind at large.a light to the Gentiles—then in thick darkness.glory of thy people Israel—already Thine, and now, in the believing portion of it, to be somore gloriously than ever. It will be observed that this "swan-like song, bidding an eternal farewellto this terrestrial life" [Olshausen], takes a more comprehensive view of the kingdom of Christ thanthat of Zacharias, though the kingdom they sing of is one.34, 35. set—appointed.fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against—Perhaps the formerof these phrases expresses the two stages of temporary "fall of many in Israel" through unbelief,during our Lord's earthly career, and the subsequent "rising again" of the same persons after theeffusion of the Spirit at pentecost threw a new light to them on the whole subject; while the latterclause describes the determined enemies of the Lord Jesus. Such opposite views of Christ are takenfrom age to age.35. Yea, &c.—"Blessed as thou art among women, thou shalt have thine own deep share of thestruggles and sufferings which this Babe is to occasion"—pointing not only to the continued obloquyand rejection of this Child of hers, those agonies of His which she was to witness at the cross, andher desolate condition thereafter, but to dreadful alternations of faith and unbelief, of hope and fearregarding Him, which she would have to pass through.that the thoughts, &c.—Men's views and decisions regarding Christ are a mirror in which thevery "thoughts of their hearts" are seen.36. Anna—or, Hannah.a prophetess—another evidence that "the last times" in which God was to "pour out His Spiritupon all flesh" were at hand.of the tribe of Aser—one of the ten tribes, of whom many were not carried captive, and not afew reunited themselves to Judah after the return from Babylon. The distinction of tribes, thoughpractically destroyed by the captivity, was well enough known up to their final dispersion (Ro 11:1;Heb 7:14); nor is it now entirely lost.lived, &c.—she had lived seven years with her husband (Lu 2:36), and been a widow eighty-fouryears; so that if she married at the earliest marriageable age, twelve years, she could not at this timebe less than a hundred three years old.2059JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson37. departed not from the temple—was found there at all stated hours of the day, and evenduring the night services of the temple watchmen (Ps 134:1, 2), "serving God with fastings andprayer." (See 1Ti 5:5, suggested by this.)38. coming in—"presenting herself." She had been there already but now is found "standingby," as Simeon's testimony to the blessed Babe died away, ready to take it up "in turn" (as the wordrendered "likewise" here means).to all them, &c.—the sense is, "to all them in Jerusalem that were looking forredemption"—saying in effect, In that Babe are wrapt up all your expectations. If this was at thehour of prayer, when numbers flocked to the temple, it would account for her having such anaudience as the words imply [Alford].39. Nothing is more difficult than to fix the precise order in which the visit of the Magi, withthe flight into and return from Egypt (Mt 2:13-23), are to be taken, in relation to the circumcisionand presentation of Christ in the temple, here recorded. It is perhaps best to leave this in the obscurityin which we find it, as the result of two independent, though if we knew all, easily reconcilablenarratives.40. His mental development kept pace with His bodily, and "the grace of God," the divine favor,rested manifestly and increasingly upon Him. See Lu 2:52.Lu 2:41-52. First Conscious Visit to Jerusalem."Solitary flowered out of the wonderful enclosed garden of the thirty years, plucked preciselythere where the swollen bud, at a distinctive crisis (at twelve years of age), bursts into flower. Tomark that is assuredly the design and the meaning of this record" [Stier].42. went up—"were wont to go." Though males only were required to go up to Jerusalem atthe three annual festivals (Ex 23:14-17), devout women, when family duties permitted, went also,as did Hannah (1Sa 1:7), and, as we here see, the mother of Jesus.when twelve years old—At this age every Jewish boy was styled "a son of the law," being putunder a course of instruction and trained to fasting and attendance on public worship, besides beingset to learn a trade. At this age accordingly our Lord is taken up for the first time to Jerusalem, atthe passover season, the chief of the three annual festivals. But oh, with what thoughts and feelingsmust this Youth have gone up! Long ere He beheld it, He had doubtless "loved the habitation ofGod's house and the place where His honor dwelt" (Ps 26:8), a love nourished, we may be sure, bythat "word hid in His heart," with which in afterlife He showed so perfect a familiarity. As the timefor His first visit approached, could one's ear have caught the breathings of His young soul, hemight have heard Him whispering, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soulafter Thee, O God. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. I wasglad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thygates, O Jerusalem!" (Ps 42:1; 87:2; 122:1, 2). On catching the first view of "the city of theirsolemnities," and high above all in it, "the place of God's rest," we hear Him saying to Himself,"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the cityof the great King: Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God doth shine" (Ps 48:2; 50:2). Of Hisfeelings or actions during all the eight days of the feast not a word is said. As a devout child, incompany with its parents, He would go through the services, keeping His thoughts to Himself. Butmethinks I hear Him, after the sublime services of that feast, saying to Himself, "He brought meto the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. I sat down under his shadow with greatdelight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste" (So 2:3, 4).2060JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson43. as they returned—If the duties of life must give place to worship, worship, in its turn, mustgive place to them. Jerusalem is good, but Nazareth is good, too; let him who neglects the one, onpretext of attending to the other, ponder this scene.tarried behind … Joseph and his mother knew not—Accustomed to the discretion andobedience of the lad [Olshausen], they might be thrown off their guard.44. sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances—On these sacred journeys, wholevillages and districts travelled in groups together, partly for protection, partly for company; and asthe well-disposed would beguile the tediousness of the way by good discourse, to which the childJesus would be no silent listener, they expect to find Him in such a group.45, 46. After three sorrowing days, they find Him still in Jerusalem, not gazing on its architecture,or surveying its forms of busy life, but in the temple—not the "sanctuary" (as in Lu 1:9), to whichonly the priests had access, but in some one of the enclosures around it, where the rabbins, or"doctors," taught their scholars.46. hearing … asking—The method of question and answer was the customary form ofrabbinical teaching; teacher and learner becoming by turns questioner and answerer, as may beseen from their extant works. This would give full scope for all that "astonished them in Hisunderstanding and answers." Not that He assumed the office of teaching—"His hour" for that "wasnot yet come," and His equipment for that was not complete; for He had yet to "increase in wisdom"as well as "stature" (Lu 2:52). In fact, the beauty of Christ's example lies very much in His neverat one stage of His life anticipating the duties of another. All would be in the style and manner ofa learner, "opening His mouth and panting." "His soul breaking for the longing that it had untoGod's judgments at all times" (Ps 119:20), and now more than ever before, when finding Himselffor the first time in His Father's house. Still there would be in His questions far more than in theiranswers; and if we may take the frivolous interrogatories with which they afterwards plied Him,about the woman that had seven husbands and such like, as a specimen of their present drivellingquestions, perhaps we shall not greatly err, if we suppose that "the questions" which He now "askedthem" in return were just the germs of those pregnant questions with which He astonished andsilenced them in after years: "What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He? If David call Him Lord,how is He then his Son?" "Which is the first and great commandment?" "Who is my neighbour?"49. about my Father's business—literally, "in" or "at My Fathers," that is, either "about MyFather's affairs," or "in My Father's courts"—where He dwells and is to be found—about His hand,so to speak. This latter shade of meaning, which includes the former, is perhaps the true one, HereHe felt Himself at home, breathing His own proper air. His words convey a gentle rebuke of theirobtuseness in requiring Him to explain this. "Once here, thought ye I should so readily hasten away?Let ordinary worshippers be content to keep the feast and be gone; but is this all ye have learnt ofMe?" Methinks we are here let into the holy privacies of Nazareth; for what He says they shouldhave known, He must have given them ground to know. She tells Him of the sorrow with whichHis father and she had sought Him. He speaks of no Father but one, saying, in effect, My Fatherhas not been seeking Me; I have been with Him all this time; "the King hath brought me into Hischambers … His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me" (So 1:4; 2:6).How is it that ye do not understand? (Mr 8:21).50, 51. understood not—probably He had never expressly said as much, and so confoundedthem, though it was but the true interpretation of many things which they had seen and heard fromHim at home. (See on Joh 14:4.) But lest it should be thought that now He threw off the filial yoke,2061JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand became His own Master henceforth, and theirs too, it is purposely added, "And He went downwith them, and was subject unto them." The marvel of this condescension lies in its coming aftersuch a scene, and such an assertion of His higher Sonship; and the words are evidently meant toconvey this. "From this time we have no more mention of Joseph. The next we hear is of his "motherand brethren" (Joh 2:12); whence it is inferred, that between this time and the commencement ofour Lord's public life, Joseph died" [Alford], having now served the double end of being the protectorof our Lord's Virgin—mother, and affording Himself the opportunity of presenting a matchlesspattern of subjection to both parents.52. See on Lu 2:40.stature—or better, perhaps, as in the Margin, "age," which implies the other. This is all therecord we have of the next eighteen years of that wondrous life. What seasons of tranquil meditationover the lively oracles, and holy fellowship with His Father; what inlettings, on the one hand, oflight, and love, and power from on high, and outgoings of filial supplication, freedom, love, andjoy on the other, would these eighteen years contain! And would they not seem "but a few days"if they were so passed, however ardently He might long to be more directly "about His Father'sbusiness?"CHAPTER 3Lu 3:1-20. Preaching, Baptism, and Imprisonment of John.(See on Mt 3:1-12; Mr 6:17, &c.).1, 2. Here the curtain of the New Testament is, as it were, drawn up, and the greatest of allepochs of the Church commences. Even our Lord's own age (Lu 3:23) is determined by it [Bengel].No such elaborate chronological precision is to be found elsewhere in the New Testament, and itcomes fitly from him who claims it as the peculiar recommendation of his Gospel, that he had"accurately traced down all things from the first" (Lu 1:3). Here, evidently, commences his propernarrative. Also see on Mt 3:1.the fifteenth year of Tiberius—reckoning from the period when he was admitted, three yearsbefore Augustus' death, to a share of the empire [Webster and Wilkinson], about the end of the yearof Rome 779, or about four years before the usual reckoning.Pilate … governor of Judea—His proper title was Procurator, but with more than the usualpowers of that office. After holding it about ten years he was ordered to Rome, to answer to chargesbrought against him, but ere he arrived Tiberius died (A.D. 35), and soon after Pilate committedsuicide.Herod—(See on Mr 6:14).Philip—a different and very superior Philip to the one whose wife Herodias went to live withHerod Antipas. (See Mr 6:17).Iturea—to the northeast of Palestine; so called from Ishmael's son Itur or Jetur (1Ch 1:31),and anciently belonging to the half tribe of Manasseh.Trachonitis—farther to the northeast, between Iturea and Damascus; a rocky district, infestedby robbers, and committed by Augustus to Herod the Great to keep in order.Abilene—still more to the northeast, so called from Abila, eighteen miles from Damascus[Robinson].2062JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson2. Annas and Caiaphas … high priests—the former, though deposed, retained much of hisinfluence, and, probably, as sagan or deputy, exercised much of the power of the high priesthoodalong with Caiaphas (Joh 18:13; Ac 4:6). Both Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests in David'stime (2Sa 15:35), and it seems to have become the fixed practice to have two (2Ki 25:18). (Alsosee on Mt 3:1.)word of God came unto John—Such formulas, of course, are never used when speaking ofJesus, because the divine nature manifested itself in Him not at certain isolated moments of Hislife. He was the one everlasting manifestation of the Godhead—The Word [Olshausen].5. Every valley, &c.—levelling and smoothing, obvious figures, the sense of which is in thefirst words of the proclamation, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."6. all flesh, &c.—(quoted literally from the Septuagint of Isa 40:5). The idea is that everyobstruction shall be so removed as to reveal to the whole world the Salvation of God in Him whosename is the "Saviour" (compare Ps 98:3; Isa 11:10; 49:6; 52:10; Lu 2:31, 32; Ac 13:47).10-14. What shall we do then?—to show the sincerity of our repentance. (Also see on Mt3:10.)11. two coats—directed against the reigning avarice. (Also see on Mt 3:10.)12. publicans, &c. (Also see on Mt 3:10.)13. Exact no more, &c.—directed against that extortion which made the publicans a byword.(See on Lu 19:2; Lu 19:8). (Also see on Mt 3:10.)14. soldiers … Do violence to none—The word signifies to "shake thoroughly," and so to"intimidate," probably in order to extort money or other property. (Also see on Mt 3:10.)accuse … falsely—acting as informers vexatiously, on frivolous or false grounds.content with your wages—"rations." We may take this as a warning against mutiny, whichthe officers attempted to suppress by largesses and donations [Webster and Wilkinson]. And thus the"fruits" which would evidence their repentance were just resistance to the reigning sins, particularlyof the class to which the penitent belonged, and the manifestation of an opposite spirit.15-17. whether he were the Christ—showing both how successful he had been in awakeningthe expectation of Messiah's immediate appearing, and the high estimation, and even reverence,which his own character commanded. (Also see on Mt 3:10.)16. John answered—either to the deputation from Jerusalem (see Joh 1:19, &c.), or on someother occasion, simply to remove impressions derogatory to his blessed Master which he knew tobe taking hold of the popular mind. (Also see on Mt 3:10.)saying unto them all—in solemn protestation. So far from entertaining such a thought as layingclaim to the honors of Messiahship, the meanest services I can render to that "Mightier than I thatis coming after me," are too high an honor for me. Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant ofChrist throughout!one mightier than I—"the Mighter than I."18. many other things, &c.—such as we read in Joh 1:29, 33, 34; 3:27-36. (Also see on Mt3:12.)19, 20. But Herod, &c.—See on Mr 6:14, &c. (Also see on Mt 3:12.)and for all the evils which Herod had done—important fact here only mentioned, showinghow thoroughgoing was the fidelity of the Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must havebeen the workings of conscience in that slave of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he"did many things and heard John gladly" (Mr 6:20, 26).2063JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson20. Added yet, &c.—(Also see on Mt 3:12).Lu 3:21, 22. Baptism of and Descent of the Spirit upon Jesus.(See on Mt 3:13-17.)21. when all the people were baptized—that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd.Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon an ass, "whereon yet never man sat" (Lu 19:30), and lay ina sepulchre "wherein was never man yet laid" (Joh 19:41), so in His baptism He would be "separatefrom sinners."Lu 3:23-38. Genealogy of Jesus.23. he began to be about thirty—that is, "was about entering on His thirtieth year." So ourtranslators have taken the word (and so Calvin, Beza, Bloomfield, Webster and Wilkinson, &c.): but "wasabout thirty years of age when He began [His ministry]," makes better Greek, and is probably thetrue sense [Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Alford, &c.]. At this age the priests entered on their office(Nu 4:3).being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, &c.—Have we in this genealogy, as well as inMatthew's, the line of Joseph? or is this the line of Mary?—a point on which there has been greatdifference of opinion and much acute discussion. Those who take the former opinion contend thatit is the natural sense of this verse, and that no other would have been thought of but for its supposedimprobability and the uncertainty which it seems to throw over our Lord's real descent. But it isliable to another difficulty; namely, that in this case Matthew makes Jacob, while Luke makes"Heli," to be Joseph's father; and though the same man had often more than one name, we oughtnot to resort to that supposition, in such a case as this, without necessity. And then, though thedescent of Mary from David would be liable to no real doubt, even though we had no table of herline preserved to us (see, for example, Lu 1:2-32, and see on Lu 2:5), still it does seem unlikely—wesay not incredible—that two genealogies of our Lord should be preserved to us, neither of whichgives his real descent. Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as inMatthew that of Joseph—here His real, there His reputed line—explain the statement about Joseph,that he was "the son of Hell," to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughterMary (as in Ru 1:11, 12), and believe that Joseph's name is only introduced instead of Mary's, inconformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewestdifficulties, as it certainly is the best supported. However we decide, it is a satisfaction to knowthat not a doubt was thrown out by the bitterest of the early enemies of Christianity as to our Lord'sreal descent from David. On comparing the two genealogies, it will be found that Matthew, writingmore immediately for Jews, deemed it enough to show that the Saviour was sprung from Abrahamand David; whereas Luke, writing more immediately for Gentiles, traces the descent back to Adam,the parent stock of the whole human family, thus showing Him to be the promised "Seed of thewoman." "The possibility of constructing such a table, comprising a period of thousands of years,in an uninterrupted line from father to son, of a family that dwelt for a long time in the utmostretirement, would be inexplicable, had not the members of this line been endowed with a threadby which they could extricate themselves from the many families into which every tribe and branchwas again subdivided, and thus hold fast and know the member that was destined to continue thelineage. This thread was the hope that Messiah would be born of the race of Abraham and David.The ardent desire to behold Him and be partakers of His mercy and glory suffered not the attentionto be exhausted through a period embracing thousands of years. Thus the member destined to2064JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncontinue the lineage, whenever doubtful, became easily distinguishable, awakening the hope of afinal fulfilment, and keeping it alive until it was consummated" [Olshausen].24-30. son of Matthat, &c.—(See on Mt 1:13-15). In Lu 3:27, Salathiel is called the son, whilein Mt 1:12, he is called the father of Zerubbabel. But they are probably different persons.38. son of God—Compare Ac 17:28.CHAPTER 4Lu 4:1-13. Temptation of Christ.(See on Mt 4:1-11.)Lu 4:14-32. Jesus Entering on His Public Ministry, Makes a Circuit of Galilee—Rejection at Nazareth.Note.—A large gap here occurs, embracing the important transactions in Galilee and Jerusalemwhich are recorded in Joh 1:29-4:54, and which occurred before John's imprisonment (Joh 3:24);whereas the transactions here recorded occurred (as appears from Mt 4:12, 13) after that event.The visit to Nazareth recorded in Mt 13:54-58 (and Mr 6:1-6) we take to be not a later visit, butthe same with this first one; because we cannot think that the Nazarenes, after being so enraged atHis first display of wisdom as to attempt His destruction, should, on a second display of the same,wonder at it and ask how He came by it, as if they had never witnessed it before.16. as his custom was—Compare Ac 17:2.stood up for to read—Others besides rabbins were allowed to address the congregation. (SeeAc 13:15.)18, 19. To have fixed on any passage announcing His sufferings (as Isa 53:1-12), would havebeen unsuitable at that early stage of His ministry. But He selects a passage announcing the sublimeobject of His whole mission, its divine character, and His special endowments for it; expressed inthe first person, and so singularly adapted to the first opening of the mouth in His prophetic capacity,that it seems as if made expressly for this occasion. It is from the well-known section of Isaiah'sprophecies whose burden is that mysterious "Servant of the Lord," despised of man, abhorred of thenation, but before whom kings on seeing Him are to arise, and princes to worship; in visage moremarred than any man and His form than the sons of men, yet sprinkling many nations; laboringseemingly in vain, and spending His strength for naught and in vain, yet Jehovah's Servant to raiseup the tribes of Jacob and be His Salvation to the ends of the earth (Isa 49:1-26, &c.). The quotationis chiefly from the Septuagint version, used in the synagogues.19. acceptable year—an allusion to the jubilee year (Le 25:10), a year of universal release forperson and property. (See also Isa 49:8; 2Co 6:2.) As the maladies under which humanity groansare here set forth under the names of poverty, broken-heartedness, bondage, blindness, bruisedness(or crushedness), so, as the glorious Healer of all these maladies, Christ announces Himself in theact of reading it, stopping the quotation just before it comes to "the day of vengeance," which wasonly to come on the rejecters of His message (Joh 3:17). The first words, "The Spirit of the Lord isupon Me," have been noted since the days of the Church Fathers, as an illustrious example of Father,Son, and Holy Ghost being exhibited as in distinct yet harmonious action in the scheme of salvation.20. the minister—the chazan, or synagogue-officer.all eyes … fastened on Him—astounded at His putting in such claims.2065JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson21. began to say, &c.—His whole address was just a detailed application to Himself of thisand perhaps other like prophecies.22. gracious words—"the words of grace," referring both to the richness of His matter and thesweetness of His manner (Ps 45:2).Is not this, &c.—(See on Mt 13:54-56). They knew He had received no rabbinical education,and anything supernatural they seemed incapable of conceiving.23. this proverb—like our "Charity begins at home."whatsoever, &c.—"Strange rumors have reached our ears of Thy doings at Capernaum; but ifsuch power resides in Thee to cure the ills of humanity, why has none of it yet come nearer home,and why is all this alleged power reserved for strangers?" His choice of Capernaum as a place ofresidence since entering on public life was, it seems, already well known at Nazareth; and whenHe did come thither, to give no displays of His power when distant places were ringing with Hisfame, wounded their pride. He had indeed "laid his hands on a few sick folk and healed them" (Mr6:5); but this seems to have been done quite privately the general unbelief precluding anythingmore open.24. And he said, &c.—He replies to the one proverb by another, equally familiar, which weexpress in a rougher form—"Too much familiarity breeds contempt." Our Lord's long residence inNazareth merely as a townsman had made Him too common, incapacitating them for appreciatingHim as others did who were less familiar with His everyday demeanor in private life. A mostimportant principle, to which the wise will pay due regard. (See also Mt 7:6, on which our LordHimself ever acted.)25-27. But I tell you, &c.—falling back for support on the well-known examples of Elijah andElisha (Eliseus), whose miraculous power, passing by those who were near, expended itself onthose at a distance, yea on heathens, "the two great prophets who stand at the commencement ofprophetic antiquity, and whose miracles strikingly prefigured those of our Lord. As He intendedlike them to feed the poor and cleanse the lepers, He points to these miracles of mercy, and not tothe fire from heaven and the bears that tore the mockers" [Stier].three years and six months—So Jas 5:17, including perhaps the six months after the last fallof rain, when there would be little or none at any rate; whereas in 1Ki 18:1, which says the rainreturned "in the third year," that period is probably not reckoned.26, 27. save … saving—"but only." (Compare Mr 13:32, Greek.)Sarepta—"Zarephath" (1Ki 17:9), a heathen village between Tyre and Sidon. (See Mr 7:24.)28, 29. when they heard these things—these allusions to the heathen, just as afterwards withPaul (Ac 22:21, 22).29. rose up—broke up the service irreverently and rushed forth.thrust him—with violence, as a prisoner in their hands.brow, &c.—Nazareth, though not built on the ridge of a hill, is in part surrounded by one tothe west, having several such precipices. (See 2Ch 25:12; 2Ki 9:33.) It was a mode of capitalpunishment not unusual among the Romans and others. This was the first insult which the Son ofGod received, and it came from "them of His own household!" (Mt 10:36).30. passing through the midst, &c.—evidently in a miraculous way, though perhaps quitenoiselessly, leading them to wonder afterwards what spell could have come over them, that theyallowed Him to escape. (Similar escapes, however, in times of persecution, are not unexampled.)31. down to Capernaum—It lay on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:13), whereas Nazareth lay high.2066JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLu 4:33-37. Demoniac Healed.33. unclean—The frequency with which this character of impurity is applied to evil spirits isworthy of notice.cried out, &c.—(See Mt 8:29; Mr 3:11).35. rebuked them, &c.—(See on Lu 4:41).thrown him, &c.—See on Mr 9:20.36. What a word—a word from the Lord of spirits.Lu 4:38-41. Peter's Mother-in-law and Many Others, Healed.(See on Mt 8:14-17.)41. suffered them not to speak—The marginal reading ("to say that they knew him to beChrist") here is wrong. Our Lord ever refused testimony from devils, for the very reason why theywere eager to give it, because He and they would thus seem to be one interest, as His enemiesactually alleged. (See on Mt 12:24, &c.; see also Ac 16:16-18.)Lu 4:42-44. Jesus Sought Out at Morning Prayer, and Entreated to Stay, Declines from the Urgency of His Work.See on Mr 1:35-39, where we learn how early He retired, and how He was engaged in solitudewhen they came seeking Him.42. stayed him—"were staying Him," or sought to do it. What a contrast to the Gadarenes!The nature of His mission required Him to keep moving, that all might hear the glad tidings (Mt8:34).43. I must, &c.—but duty only could move Him to deny entreaties so grateful to His spirit.CHAPTER 5Lu 5:1-11. Miraculous Draught of Fishes—Call of Peter, James, and John.Not their first call, however, recorded in Joh 1:35-42; nor their second, recorded in Mt 4:18-22;but their third and last before their appointment to the apostleship. That these calls were all distinctand progressive, seems quite plain. (Similar stages are observable in other eminent servants ofChrist.)3. taught … out of the ship—(See on Mt 13:2).4. for a draught—munificent recompense for the use of his boat.5. Master—betokening not surely a first acquaintance, but a relationship already formed.all night—the usual time of fishing then (Joh 21:3), and even now Peter, as a fisherman, knewhow hopeless it was to "let down his net" again, save as a mere act of faith, "at His word" ofcommand, which carried in it, as it ever does, assurance of success. (This shows he must have beenalready and for some time a follower of Christ.)6. net brake—rather "was breaking," or "beginning to break," as in Lu 5:7, "beginning to sink."8. Depart, &c.—Did Peter then wish Christ to leave him? Verily no. His all was wrapt up inHim (Joh 6:68). "It was rather, Woe is me, Lord! How shall I abide this blaze of glory? A sinnersuch as I am is not fit company for Thee." (Compare Isa 6:5.)10. Simon, fear not—This shows how the Lord read Peter's speech. The more highly theydeemed Him, ever the more grateful it was to the Redeemer's spirit. Never did they pain Him bymanifesting too lofty conceptions of Him.2067JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfrom henceforth—marking a new stage of their connection with Christ. The last was simply,"I will make you fishers."fishers of men—"What wilt thou think, Simon, overwhelmed by this draught of fishes, whenI shall bring to thy net what will beggar all this glory?" (See on Mt 4:18.)11. forsook all—They did this before (Mt 4:20); now they do it again; and yet after theCrucifixion they are at their boats once more (Joh 21:3). In such a business this is easily conceivable.After pentecost, however, they appear to have finally abandoned their secular calling.Lu 5:12-16. Leper Healed.(See on Mt 8:2-4.)15. But so, &c.—(See Mr 1:45).Lu 5:17-26. Paralytic Healed.(See on Mt 9:1-8).17. Pharisees and doctors … sitting by—the highest testimony yet borne to our Lord's growinginfluence, and the necessity increasingly felt by the ecclesiastics throughout the country of comingto some definite judgment regarding Him.power of the Lord … present—with Jesus.to heal them—the sick people.19. housetop—the flat roof.through the tiling … before Jesus—(See on Mr 2:2).24. take up thy couch—"sweet saying! The bed had borne the man; now the man shall bearthe bed!" [Bengel].Lu 5:27-32. Levi's Call and Feast.(See on Mt 9:9-13; and Mr 2:14.)30. their scribes—a mode of expression showing that Luke was writing for Gentiles.Lu 5:33-39. Fasting.(See on Mt 9:14-17.)The incongruities mentioned in Lu 5:36-38 were intended to illustrate the difference betweenthe genius of the old and new economies, and the danger of mixing up the one with the other. Asin the one case supposed, "the rent is made worse," and in the other, "the new wine is spilled," soby a mongrel mixture of the ascetic ritualism of the old with the spiritual freedom of the neweconomy, both are disfigured and destroyed. The additional parable in Lu 5:39, which is peculiarto Luke, has been variously interpreted. But the "new wine" seems plainly to be the evangelicalfreedom which Christ was introducing; and the old, the opposite spirit of Judaism: men longaccustomed to the latter could not be expected "straightway"—all at once—to take a liking for theformer; that is, "These inquiries about the difference between My disciples and the Pharisees," andeven John's, are not surprising; they are the effect of a natural revulsion against sudden change,which time will cure; the new wine will itself in time become old, and so acquire all the addedcharms of antiquity. What lessons does this teach, on the one hand, to those who unreasonablycling to what is getting antiquated; and, on the other, to hasty reformers who have no patience withthe timidity of their weaker brethren!CHAPTER 62068JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLu 6:1-5. Plucking Corn-ears on the Sabbath.(See on Mt 12:1-8 and Mr 2:23-28.)1. second sabbath after the first—an obscure expression, occurring here only, generallyunderstood to mean, the first sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread. The reasons cannotbe stated here, nor is the opinion itself quite free from difficulty.5. Lord also—rather "even" (as in Mt 12:8).of the sabbath—as naked a claim to all the authority of Him who gave the law at Mount Sinaias could possibly be made; that is, "I have said enough to vindicate the men ye carp at on Myaccount: but in this place is the Lord of the law, and they have His sanction." (See Mr 2:28.)Lu 6:6-11. Withered Hand Healed.(See on Mt 12:9-15 and Mr 3:1-7.)7. watched whether, &c.—In Matthew (Mt 12:9) this is put as an ensnaring question of theirsto our Lord, who accordingly speaks to the state of their hearts (Lu 6:9), just as if they had spokenit out.9. good, or … evil, save … or destroy—By this novel way of putting His case, our Lord teachesthe great ethical principle, that to neglect any opportunity of doing good is to incur the guilt ofdoing evil; and by this law He bound His own spirit. (See Mr 3:4.)11. filled with madness—The word denotes senseless rage at the confusion to which our Lordhad put them, both by word and deed.what … do to Jesus—not so much whether to get rid of Him, but how to compass it. (See onMt 3:6.)Lu 6:12-49. The Twelve Apostles Chosen—Gathering Multitudes—Glorious Healing.12, 13. went out—probably from Capernaum.all night in prayer … and when … day, he called, &c.—The work with which the next daybegan shows what had been the burden of this night's devotions. As He directed His disciples topray for "laborers" just before sending themselves forth (see on Mt 9:37; Mt 10:1), so here we findthe Lord Himself in prolonged communion with His Father in preparation for the solemn appointmentof those men who were to give birth to His Church, and from whom the world in all time was totake a new mould. How instructive is this!13-16. (See on Mt 10:2-4.)17. in the plain—by some rendered "on a level place," that is, a piece of high tableland, bywhich they understand the same thing, as "on the mountain," where our Lord delivered the sermonrecorded by Matthew (Mt 5:1), of which they take this following discourse of Luke to be but anabridged form. But as the sense given in our version is the more accurate, so there are weightyreasons for considering the discourses different. This one contains little more than a fourth of theother; it has woes of its own, as well as the beatitudes common to both; but above all, that ofMatthew was plainly delivered a good while before, while this was spoken after the choice of thetwelve; and as we know that our Lord delivered some of His weightiest sayings more than once,there is no difficulty in supposing this to be one of His more extended repetitions; nor could anythingbe more worthy of it.19. healed—kept healing, denoting successive acts of mercy till it went over "all" that needed.There is something unusually grand and pictorial in this touch of description.20, 21. In the Sermon on the Mount the benediction is pronounced upon the "poor in spirit"and those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (Mt 5:3, 6). Here it is simply on the "poor"2069JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonand the "hungry now." In this form of the discourse, then, our Lord seems to have had in view "thepoor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them thatlove Him," as these very beatitudes are paraphrased by James (Jas 2:5).21. laugh—How charming is the liveliness of this word, to express what in Matthew is calledbeing "comforted!"22. separate you—whether from their Church, by excommunication, or from their society;both hard to flesh and blood.for the Son of man's sake—Compare Mt 5:11, "for My sake"; and immediately before, "forrighteousness' sake" (Lu 6:10). Christ thus binds up the cause of righteousness in the world withthe reception of Himself.23. leap for joy—a livelier word than "be exceeding glad" of "exult" (Mt 5:12).24, 25. rich … full … laugh—who have all their good things and joyous feelings here andnow, in perishable objects.received your consolation—(see on Lu 16:25).shall hunger—their inward craving strong as ever, but the materials of satisfaction forevergone.26. all … speak well of you—alluding to the court paid to the false prophets of old (Mic 2:11).For the principle of this woe, and its proper limits, see Joh 15:19.27-36. (See on Mt 5:44-48; Mt 7:12; and Mt 14:12-14.)37, 38. See on Mt 7:1, 2; but this is much fuller and more graphic.39. Can the blind, &c.—not in the Sermon on the Mount, but recorded by Matthew in anotherand very striking connection (Mt 15:14).40. The disciple, &c.—that is, "The disciple aims to come up to his master, and he thinkshimself complete when he does so: if you then be blind leaders of the blind, the perfection of one'straining under you will only land him the more certainly in one common ruin with yourselves."41-49. (See on Mt 7:3-5, Mt 7:16-27.)CHAPTER 7Lu 7:1-10. Centurion's Servant Healed.(See on Mt 8:5-13.)4. he was worthy—a testimony most precious, coming from those who probably were strangersto the principle from which he acted (Ec 7:1).5. loved our nation—Having found that "salvation was of the Jews," he loved them for it.built, &c.—His love took this practical and appropriate form.Lu 7:11-17. Widow of Nain's Son Raised to Life. (In Luke only).11. Nain—a small village not elsewhere mentioned in Scripture, and only this once probablyvisited by our Lord; it lay a little to the south of Mount Tabor, about twelve miles from Capernaum.12. carried out—"was being carried out." Dead bodies, being ceremonially unclean, were notallowed to be buried within the cities (though the kings of David's house were buried m the city ofDavid), and the funeral was usually on the same day as the death.only son, &c.—affecting particulars, told with delightful simplicity.2070JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson13. the Lord—"This sublime appellation is more usual with Luke and John than Matthew;Mark holds the mean" [Bengel].saw her, he had compassion, &c.—What consolation to thousands of the bereaved has thissingle verse carried from age to age!14, 15. What mingled majesty and grace shines in this scene! The Resurrection and the Life inhuman flesh, with a word of command, bringing back life to the dead body; Incarnate Compassionsummoning its absolute power to dry a widow's tears!16. visited his people—more than bringing back the days of Elijah and Elisha (1Ki 17:17-24;2Ki 4:32-37; and see Mt 15:31).Lu 7:18-35. The Baptist's Message the Reply, and Consequent Discourse.(See on Mt 11:2-14.)29, 30. And all the people that heard—"on hearing (this)." These are the observations of theEvangelist, not of our Lord.and the publicans—a striking clause.justified God, being baptized, &c.—rather, "having been baptized." The meaning is, Theyacknowledged the divine wisdom of such a preparatory ministry as John's, in leading them to Himwho now spake to them (see Lu 1:16, 17); whereas the Pharisees and lawyers, true to themselvesin refusing the baptism of John, set at naught also the merciful design of God in the Saviour Himself,to their own destruction.31-35. the Lord said, &c.—As cross, capricious children, invited by their playmates to jointhem in their amusements, will play with them neither at weddings nor funerals (juvenile imitationsof the joyous and mournful scenes of life), so that generation rejected both John and his Master:the one because he was too unsocial—more like a demoniac than a rational man; the other, becauseHe was too much the reverse, given to animal indulgences, and consorting with the lowest classesof society. But the children of Wisdom recognize and honor her, whether in the austere garb of theBaptist or in the more attractive style of his Master, whether in the Law or in the Gospel, whetherin rags or in royalty, for "the full soul loatheth an honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every bitterthing is sweet" (Pr 27:7).Lu 7:36-50. Christ's Feet Washed with Tears.37, 38. a sinner—one who had led a profligate life. Note.—There is no ground whatever forthe popular notion that this woman was Mary Magdalene, nor do we know what her name was.(See on Lu 8:2.)an alabaster box of ointment—a perfume vessel, in some cases very costly (Joh 12:5). "Theointment has here a peculiar interest, as the offering by a penitent of what had been an accessoryin her unhallowed work of sin" [Alford].38. at his feet behind him—the posture at meals being a reclining one, with the feet out behind.began to wash, &c.—to "water with a shower." The tears, which were quite involuntary, poureddown in a flood upon His naked feet, as she bent down to kiss them; and deeming them ratherfouled than washed by this, she hastened to wipe them off with the only towel she had, the longtresses of her own hair, "with which slaves were wont to wash their masters' feet" [Stier].kissed—The word signifies "to kiss fondly, to caress," or to "kiss again and again," which Lu7:45 shows is meant here. What prompted this? Much love, springing from a sense of muchforgiveness. So says He who knew her heart (Lu 7:47). Where she had met with Christ before, orwhat words of His had brought life to her dead heart and a sense of divine pardon to her guilty soul,2071JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwe know not. But probably she was of the crowd of "publicans and sinners" whom IncarnateCompassion drew so often around Him, and heard from His lips some of those words such as neverman spake, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour," &c. No personal interview had up to this time takenplace between them; but she could keep her feelings no longer to herself, and having found herway to Him (and entered along with him, Lu 7:45), they burst forth in this surpassing yet mostartless style, as if her whole soul would go out to Him.39. the Pharisee—who had formed no definite opinion of our Lord, and invited Him apparentlyto obtain materials for a judgment.spake within himself, &c.—"Ha! I have Him now; He plainly knows nothing of the personHe allows to touch Him; and so, He can be no prophet." Not so fast, Simon; thou hast not seenthrough thy Guest yet, but He hath seen through thee.40-43. Like Nathan with David, our Lord conceals His home thrust under the veil of a parable,and makes His host himself pronounce upon the case. The two debtors are the woman and Simon;the criminality of the one was ten times that of the other (in the proportion of "five hundred" to"fifty"); but both being equally insolvent, both are with equal frankness forgiven; and Simon ismade to own that the greatest debtor to forgiving mercy will cling to her Divine Benefactor withthe deepest gratitude. Does our Lord then admit that Simon was a forgiving man? Let us see.44-47. I entered … no water—a compliment to guests. Was this "much love?" Was it any?45. no kiss—of salutation. How much love was here? Any at all?46. with oil … not anoint—even common olive oil in contrast with the woman's "ointment"or aromatic balsam. What evidence was thus afforded of any feeling which forgiveness prompts?Our Lord speaks this with delicate politeness, as if hurt at these inattentions of His host, whichthough not invariably shown to guests, were the customary marks of studied respect and regard.The inference is plain—only one of the debtors was really forgiven, though in the first instance, togive room for the play of withheld feelings, the forgiveness of both is supposed in the parable.47. Her sins which are many—"Those many sins of hers," our Lord, who admitted how muchmore she owed than the Pharisee, now proclaims in naked terms the forgiveness of her guilt.for—not because, as if love were the cause of forgiveness, but "inasmuch as," or "in proof ofwhich." The latter clause of the verse, and the whole structure of the parable, plainly show this tobe the meaning.little forgiven … loveth little—delicately ironical intimation of no love and no forgiveness inthe present case.48. said unto her, &c.—an unsought assurance, usually springing up unexpected in the midstof active duty and warm affections, while often it flies from those who mope and are paralyzed forwant of it.49, 50. they that sat … Who is this, &c.—No wonder they were startled to hear One who wasreclining at the same couch, and partaking of the same hospitalities with themselves, assume theawful prerogative of "even forgiving sins." But so far from receding from this claim, or softeningit down, our Lord only repeats it, with two precious additions: one, announcing what was the onesecret of the "forgiveness" she had experienced, and which carried "salvation" in its bosom; theother, a glorious dismissal of her in that "peace" which she had already felt, but is now assured shehas His full warrant to enjoy! This wonderful scene teaches two very weighty truths: (1) Thoughthere be degrees of guilt, insolvency, or inability to wipe out the dishonor done to God, is commonto all sinners. (2) As Christ is the Great Creditor to whom all debt, whether great or small, contracted2072JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonby sinners is owing, so to Him belongs the prerogative of forgiving it. This latter truth is broughtout in the structure and application of the present parable as it is nowhere else. Either then Jesuswas a blaspheming deceiver, or He is God manifest in the flesh.CHAPTER 8Lu 8:1-3. A Galilean Circuit, with the Twelve and Certain Ministering Women. (In Luke only).1. went—travelled, made a progress.throughout every city and village—through town and village.preaching, &c.—the Prince of itinerant preachers scattering far and wide the seed of theKingdom.2. certain women … healed, &c.—on whom He had the double claim of having brought healingto their bodies and new life to their souls. Drawn to Him by an attraction more than magnetic, theyaccompany Him on this tour as His almoners—ministering unto Him of their substance. BlessedSaviour! It melts us to see Thee living upon the love of Thy ransomed people. That they bring Theetheir poor offerings we wonder not. Thou hast sown unto them spiritual things, and they think it,as well they might, a small thing that Thou shouldst reap their material things (1Co 9:11). But dostThou take it at their hand, and subsist upon it? "Oh, the depth of the riches" (Ro 11:33)—of thispoverty of His!Mary Magdalene—that is, probably, of Magdala (on which see Mt 15:39; see on Mr 8:10).went—rather, "had gone."seven devils—(Mr 16:9). It is a great wrong to this honored woman to identify her with theonce profligate woman of Lu 7:37, and to call all such penitents Magdalenes. The mistake hasarisen from confounding unhappy demoniacal possession with the conscious entertainment ofdiabolic impurity, or supposing the one to have been afflicted as a punishment for the other—forwhich there is not the least scriptural ground.3. Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward—If the steward of such a godless, cruel, andlicentious wretch as Herod Antipas (see on Mr 6:14, &c.) differed greatly from himself, his postwould be no easy or enviable one. That he was a disciple of Christ is very improbable, though hemight be favorably disposed towards Him. But what we know not of him, and may fear he lacked,we are sure his wife possessed. Healed either of "evil spirits" or of some one of the "infirmities"here referred to—the ordinary diseases of humanity—she joins in the Saviour's train of grateful,clinging followers. Of "Susanna," next mentioned, we know nothing but the name, and that hereonly. But her services on this memorable occasion have immortalized her name. "Wheresoever thisgospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done," in ministeringto the Lord of her substance on His Galilean tour, "shall be spoken of as a memorial of her" (Mr14:9).many others—that is, many other healed women. What a train! and all ministering unto Himof their substance, and He allowing them to do it and subsisting upon it! "He who was the supportof the spiritual life of His people disdained not to be supported by them in the body. He was notashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty as to live upon the alms of love. He only fedothers miraculously; for Himself, He lived upon the love of His people. He gave all things to men,His brethren, and received all things from them, enjoying thereby the pure blessing of love: which2073JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonis then only perfect when it is at the same time both giving and receiving. Who could invent suchthings as these? It was necessary to live in this manner that it might be so recorded" [Olshausen].Lu 8:4-18. Parable of the Sower.(See on Mr 4:3-9, Mr 4:14-20.)16. No man, &c.—(see on Mt 5:15, of which this is nearly a repetition).17. For nothing, &c.—(See on Lu 12:2).18. how ye—in Mr 4:24, "what ye hear." The one implies the other. The precept is very weighty.seemeth to have—or, "thinketh that he hath" (Margin). The "having" of Mt 13:12 (on whichsee), and this "thinking he hath," are not different. Hanging loosely on him, and not appropriated,it is and is not his.Lu 8:19-21. His Mother and Brethren Desire to Speak with Him.(See on Mt 12:46-50).Lu 8:22-25. Jesus Crossing the Lake, Stills the Storm.(See on Mt 8:23-27, and Mr 4:35-41).23. filled—literally, "were getting filled," that is, those who sailed; meaning that their ship wasso.Lu 8:26-39. Demoniac of Gadara Healed.(See on Mt 8:28-34; and Mr 5:1-20).Lu 8:40-56. Jairus' Daughter Raised and Issue of Blood Healed.(See on Mt 9:18-26; and Mr 5:21-43).40. gladly received him, for … all waiting for him—The abundant teaching of that day (inMt 13:1-58; and see Mr 4:36), had only whetted the people's appetite; and disappointed, as wouldseem, that He had left them in the evening to cross the lake, they remain hanging about the beach,having got a hint, probably through some of His disciples, that He would be back the same evening.Perhaps they witnessed at a distance the sudden calming of the tempest. Here at least they are,watching for His return, and welcoming Him to the shore. The tide of His popularity was now fastrising.45. Who touched me?—"Askest Thou, Lord, who touched Thee? Rather ask who touchedThee not in such a throng."46. Somebody hath touched—yes, the multitude "thronged" and pressed Him—"they jostledagainst Him," but all involuntarily; they were merely carried along; but one, one only—"SomebodyTouched" Him, with the conscious, voluntary, dependent touch of faith, reaching forth its handsexpressly to have contact with Him. This and this only Jesus acknowledges and seeks out. Evenso, as the Church Father Augustine long ago said, multitudes still come similarly close to Christ inthe means of grace, but all to no purpose, being only sucked into the crowd. The voluntary, livingcontact of faith is that electric conductor which alone draws virtue out of Him.47. declared … before all—This, though a great trial to the shrinking modesty of the believingwoman, was just what Christ wanted in dragging her forth, her public testimony to the facts of hercase—both her disease, with her abortive efforts at a cure, and the instantaneous and perfect reliefwhich her touch of the Great Healer had brought her.55. give her meat—(See on Mr 5:43).2074JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonCHAPTER 9Lu 9:1-6. Mission of the Twelve Apostles.(See on Mt 10:1-15).1. power and authority—He both qualified and authorized them.Lu 9:7-9. Herod Troubled at What He Hears of Christ Desires to See Him.(See on Mr 6:14-30).7. perplexed—at a loss, embarrassed.said of some, that John was risen—Among many opinions, this was the one which Herodhimself adopted, for the reason, no doubt, mentioned on Mr 6:14.9. desired to see him—but did not, till as a prisoner He was sent to him by Pilate just beforeHis death, as we learn from Lu 23:8.Lu 9:10-17. On the Return of the Twelve Jesus Retires with Them to Bethsaida, and There Miraculously Feeds FiveThousand.(See on Mr 6:31-44).Lu 9:18-27. Peter's Confession of Christ—Our Lord's First Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Death, andWarnings Arising Out of It.(See on Mt 16:13-28; and Mr 8:34).24. will save—"Is minded to save," bent on saving. The pith of this maxim depends—as oftenin such weighty sayings (for example, "Let the dead bury the dead," Mt 8:22)—on the double senseattached to the word "life," a lower and a higher, the natural and the spiritual, temporal and eternal.An entire sacrifice of the lower, or a willingness to make it, is indispensable to the preservation ofthe higher life; and he who cannot bring himself to surrender the one for the sake of the other shalleventually lose both.26. ashamed of me, and of my words—The sense of shame is one of the strongest in ournature, one of the social affections founded on our love of reputation, which causes instinctiveaversion to what is fitted to lower it, and was given us as a preservative from all that is properlyshameful. When one is, in this sense of it, lost to shame, he is nearly past hope (Zec 3:5; Jer 6:15;3:3). But when Christ and "His words"—Christianity, especially in its more spiritual anduncompromising features—are unpopular, the same instinctive desire to stand well with othersbegets the temptation to be ashamed of Him, which only the 'expulsive power' of a higher affectioncan effectually counteract.Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh, &c.—He will render to that man his own treatment;He will disown him before the most august of all assemblies, and put him to "shame and everlastingcontempt" (Da 12:2). "Oh shame, to be put to shame before God, Christ, and angels!" [Bengel].27. not taste of death fill they see the kingdom of God—"see it come with power" (Mr 9:1);or see "the Son of man coming in His kingdom" (Mt 16:28). The reference, beyond doubt, is to thefirm establishment and victorious progress, in the lifetime of some then present, of that new Kingdomof Christ, which was destined to work the greatest of all changes on this earth, and be the grandpledge of His final coming in glory.Lu 9:28-36. Jesus Transfigured.28. an eight days after these sayings—including the day on which this was spoken and thatof the Transfiguration. Matthew and Mark say (Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2) "after six days," excluding thesetwo days. As the "sayings" so definitely connected with the transfiguration scene are thoseannouncing His death—at which Peter and all the Twelve were so startled and scandalized—so2075JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthis scene was designed to show to the eyes as well as the heart how glorious that death was in theview of Heaven.Peter, James, and John—partners before in secular business; now sole witnesses of theresurrection of Jairus' daughter (Mr 5:37), the transfiguration, and the agony in the garden (Mr14:33).a mountain—not Tabor, according to long tradition, with which the facts ill comport, but someone near the lake.to pray—for the period He had now reached was a critical and anxious one. (See on Mt 16:13).But who can adequately translate those "strong cryings and tears?" Methinks, as I steal by His side,I hear from Him these plaintive sounds, "Lord, who hath believed Our report? I am come unto Mineown and Mine own receive Me not; I am become a stranger unto My brethren, an alien to Mymother's children: Consider Mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate Me with cruel hatred.Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail. Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth: ShowMe a token for good: Father, glorify Thy name."29. as he prayed, the fashion, &c.—Before He cried He was answered, and while He was yetspeaking He was heard. Blessed interruption to prayer this! Thanks to God, transfiguringmanifestations are not quite strangers here. Ofttimes in the deepest depths, out of groanings whichcannot be uttered, God's dear children are suddenly transported to a kind of heaven upon earth, andtheir soul is made as the chariots of Amminadab. Their prayers fetch down such light, strength,holy gladness, as make their face to shine, putting a kind of celestial radiance upon it (2Co 3:18,with Ex 34:29-35).raiment white, &c.—Matthew says, "His face did shine as the sun" (Mt 17:2), and Mark says(Mr 9:3), "His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whitethem" (Mr 9:3). The light, then, it would seem, shone not upon Him from without, but out of Himfrom within; He was all irradiated, was in one blaze of celestial glory. What a contrast to that "visagemore marred than men, and His form than the sons of men!" (Isa 52:14).30, 31. there talked with him two men … Moses and Elias … appeared in glory—"Whowould have believed these were not angels had not their human names been subjoined?" [Bengel].(Compare Ac 1:10; Mr 16:5). Moses represented "the law," Elijah "the prophets," and both togetherthe whole testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures, and the Old Testament saints, to Christ; nownot borne in a book, but by living men, not to a coming, but a come Messiah, visibly, for they"appeared," and audibly, for they "spake."31. spake—"were speaking."of his decease—"departure"; beautiful euphemism (softened term) for death, which Peter, whowitnessed the scene, uses to express his own expected death, and the use of which single term seemsto have recalled the whole by a sudden rush of recollection, and occasioned that delightful allusionto this scene which we find in 2Pe 1:15-18.which he should accomplish—"was to fulfil."at Jerusalem—Mark the historical character and local features which Christ's death assumedto these glorified men—as important as it is charming—and see on Lu 2:11. What now may begathered from this statement? (1) That a dying Messiah is the great article of the true Jewishtheology. For a long time the Church had fallen clean away from the faith of this article, and evenfrom a preparedness to receive it. But here we have that jewel raked out of the dunghill of Jewishtraditions, and by the true representatives of the Church of old made the one subject of talk with2076JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonChrist Himself. (2) The adoring gratitude of glorified men for His undertaking to accomplish sucha decease; their felt dependence upon it for the glory in which they appeared; their profound interestin the progress of it, their humble solaces and encouragements to go through with it; and theirsense of its peerless and overwhelming glory. "Go, matchless, adored One, a Lamb to the slaughter!rejected of men, but chosen of God and precious; dishonored, abhorred, and soon to be slain bymen, but worshipped by cherubim, ready to be greeted by all heaven. In virtue of that decease weare here; our all is suspended on it and wrapped up in it. Thine every step is watched by us withineffable interest; and though it were too high an honor to us to be permitted to drop a word ofcheer into that precious but now clouded spirit, yet, as the first-fruits of harvest; the very joy setbefore Him, we cannot choose but tell Him that what is the depth of shame to Him is covered withglory in the eyes of Heaven, that the Cross to Him is the Crown to us, that that 'decease' is all oursalvation and all our desire." And who can doubt that such a scene did minister deep cheer to thatspirit? It is said they "talked" not to Him, but "with Him"; and if they told Him how glorious Hisdecease was, might He not fitly reply, "I know it, but your voice, as messengers from heaven comedown to tell it Me, is music in Mine ears."32. and when they were awake—so, certainly, the most commentators: but if we translateliterally, it should be "but having kept awake" [Meyer, Alford]. Perhaps "having roused themselvesup" [Olshausen] may come near enough to the literal sense; but from the word used we can gatherno more than that they shook off their drowsiness. It was night, and the Lord seems to have spentthe whole night on the mountain (Lu 9:37).saw his glory, &c.—The emphasis lies on "saw," qualifying them to become "eye-witnessesof His majesty" (2Pe 1:16).33. they departed—Ah! bright manifestations in this vale of tears are always "departing"manifestations.34, 35. a cloud—not one of our watery clouds, but the Shekinah-cloud (see on Mt 23:39), thepavilion of the manifested presence of God with His people, what Peter calls "the excellent" of"magnificent glory" (2Pe 1:17).a voice—"such a voice," says Peter emphatically; "and this voice [he adds] we heard, when wewere with Him in the holy mount" (2Pe 1:17, 18).35. my beloved Son … hear him—reverentially, implicitly, alone.36. Jesus was found alone—Moses and Elias are gone. Their work is done, and they havedisappeared from the scene, feeling no doubt with their fellow servant the Baptist, "He must increase,but I must decrease." The cloud too is gone, and the naked majestic Christ, braced in spirit, andenshrined in the reverent affection of His disciples, is left—to suffer!kept it close—feeling, for once at least, that such things were unmeet as yet for the generalgaze.Lu 9:37-45. Demoniac and Lunatic Boy Healed—Christ's Second Explicit Announcement of his Death andResurrection.(See on Mr 9:14-32.)43-45. the mighty power of God—"the majesty" or "mightiness" of God in this last miracle,the transfiguration, &c.: the divine grandeur of Christ rising upon them daily. By comparing Mt17:22, and Mr 9:30, we gather that this had been the subject of conversation between the Twelveand their Master as they journeyed along.2077JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson44. these sayings—not what was passing between them about His grandeur [Meyer, &c.], butwhat He was now to repeat for the second time about His sufferings [De Wette, Stier, Alford, &c.];that is, "Be not carried off your feet by all this grandeur of Mine, but bear in mind what I havealready told you, and now distinctly repeat, that that Sun in whose beams ye now rejoice is soonto set in midnight gloom." "The Son of man," says Christ, "into the hands of men"—a remarkableantithesis (also in Mt 17:22, and Mr 9:31).45. and they feared—"insomuch that they feared." Their most cherished ideas were socompletely dashed by such announcements, that they were afraid of laying themselves open torebuke by asking Him any questions.Lu 9:46-48. Strife among the Twelve Who Should Be Greatest—John Rebuked for Exclusiveness.46-48. (See on Mt 18:1-5).49, 50. John answered, &c.—The link of connection here with the foregoing context lies inthe words "in My name" (Lu 9:48). "Oh, as to that," said John, young, warm, but not sufficientlyapprehending Christ's teaching in these things, "we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, andwe forbade him: Were we wrong?" "Ye were wrong." "But we did because he followeth not us,'""No matter. For (1) There is no man which shall do a miracle in My name that can lightly [soon]speak evil of Me' [Mr 9:39]. And (2) If such a person cannot be supposed to be 'against us,' youare to consider him 'for us.'" Two principles of immense importance. Christ does not say this manshould not have followed "with them," but simply teaches how he was to be regarded though hedid not—as a reverer of His name and a promoter of His cause. Surely this condemns not onlythose horrible attempts by force to shut up all within one visible pale of discipleship, which havedeluged Christendom with blood in Christ's name, but the same spirit in its milder form of proudecclesiastic scowl upon all who "after the form which they call a sect (as the word signifies, Ac24:14), do so worship the God of their fathers." Visible unity in Christ's Church is devoutly to besought, but this is not the way to it. See the noble spirit of Moses (Nu 11:24-29).Lu 9:51-56. The Period of His Assumption Approaching Christ Takes His Last Leave of Galilee—The SamaritansRefuse to Receive Him.51. the time was come—rather, "the days were being fulfilled," or approaching their fulfilment.that he should be received up—"of His assumption," meaning His exaltation to the Father; asublime expression, taking the sweep of His whole career, as if at one bound He was about to vaultinto glory. The work of Christ in the flesh is here divided into two great stages; all that precededthis belonging to the one, and all that follows it to the other. During the one, He formally "came toHis own," and "would have gathered them"; during the other, the awful consequences of "His ownreceiving Him not" rapidly revealed themselves.he steadfastly set his face—the "He" here is emphatic—"He Himself then." See His ownprophetic language, "I have set my face like a flint" (Isa 50:7).go to Jerusalem—as His goal, but including His preparatory visits to it at the feasts oftabernacles and of dedication (Joh 7:2, 10; 10:22, 23), and all the intermediate movements andevents.52. messengers before his face … to make ready for him—He had not done this before; butnow, instead of avoiding, He seems to court publicity—all now hastening to maturity.53. did not receive him, because, &c.—The Galileans, in going to the festivals at Jerusalem,usually took the Samaritan route [Josephus, Antiquities, 20.6.1], and yet seem to have met with nosuch inhospitality. But if they were asked to prepare quarters for the Messiah, in the person of one2078JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwhose "face was as though He would go to Jerusalem," their national prejudices would be raisedat so marked a slight upon their claims. (See on Joh 4:20).54. James and John—not Peter, as we should have expected, but those "sons of thunder" (Mr3:17), who afterwards wanted to have all the highest honors of the Kingdom to themselves, andthe younger of whom had been rebuked already for his exclusiveness (Lu 9:49, 50). Yet this was"the disciple whom Jesus loved," while the other willingly drank of His Lord's bitter cup. (See onMr 10:38-40; and Ac 12:2). That same fiery zeal, in a mellowed and hallowed form, in the beloveddisciple, we find in 2Jo 5:10; 3Jo 10.fire … as Elias—a plausible case, occurring also in Samaria (2Ki 1:10-12).55, 56. know not what … spirit—The thing ye demand, though in keeping with the legal, isunsuited to the genius of the evangelical dispensation. The sparks of unholy indignation wouldseize readily enough on this example of Elias, though our Lord's rebuke (as is plain from Lu 9:56)is directed to the principle involved rather than the animal heat which doubtless prompted thereference. "It is a golden sentence of Tillotson, Let us never do anything for religion which iscontrary to religion" [Webster and Wilkinson].56. For the Son of man, &c.—a saying truly divine, of which all His miracles—for salvation,never destruction—were one continued illustration.went to another—illustrating His own precept (Mt 10:23).Lu 9:57-62. Incidents Illustrative of Discipleship.The Precipitate Disciple (Lu 9:57, 58).(See on Mt 8:19, 20.)The Procrastinating Disciple (Lu 9:59, 60).(See on Mt 8:21).The Irresolute Disciple (Lu 9:61, 62).61. I will follow … but—The second disciple had a "but" too—a difficulty in the way just then.Yet the different treatment of the two cases shows how different was the spirit of the two, and tothat our Lord addressed Himself. The case of Elisha (1Ki 19:19-21), though apparently similar tothis, will be found quite different from the "looking back" of this case, the best illustration of whichis that of those Hindu converts of our day who, when once persuaded to leave their spiritual fathersin order to "bid them farewell which are at home at their house," very rarely return to them. (Alsosee on Mt 8:21.)62. No man, &c.—As ploughing requires an eye intent on the furrow to be made, and is marredthe instant one turns about, so will they come short of salvation who prosecute the work of Godwith a distracted attention, a divided heart. Though the reference seems chiefly to ministers, theapplication is general. The expression "looking back" has a manifest reference to "Lot's wife" (Ge19:26; and see on Lu 17:32). It is not actual return to the world, but a reluctance to break with it.(Also see on Mt 8:21.)CHAPTER 10Lu 10:1-24. Mission of the Seventy Disciples, and Their Return.As our Lord's end approaches, the preparations for the establishment of the coming Kingdomare quickened and extended.2079JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson1. the Lord—a becoming title here, as this appointment was an act truly lordly [Bengel].other seventy also—rather, "others (also in number), seventy"; probably with allusion to theseventy elders of Israel on whom the Spirit descended in the wilderness (Nu 11:24, 25). The mission,unlike that of the Twelve, was evidently quite temporary. All the instructions are in keeping witha brief and hasty pioneering mission, intended to supply what of general preparation for comingevents the Lord's own visit afterwards to the same "cities and places" (Lu 10:1) would not, fromwant of time, now suffice to accomplish; whereas the instructions to the Twelve, besides embracingall those to the Seventy, contemplate world-wide and permanent effects. Accordingly, after theirreturn from this single missionary tour, we never again read of the Seventy.2. The harvest, &c.—(See on Mt 9:37).pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into hisharvest—(See on Mt 9:38).3-12. (See on Mt 10:7-16).10. son of peace—inwardly prepared to embrace your message of peace. See note on "worthy,"(see on Mt 10:13).12-15. (See on Mt 11:20-24).for Sodom—Tyre and Sidon were ruined by commercial prosperity; Sodom sank through itsvile pollutions: but the doom of otherwise correct persons who, amidst a blaze of light, reject theSaviour, shall be less endurable than that of any of these.16. He that, &c.—(See on Mt 10:40).17. returned—evidently not long away.Lord, &c.—"Thou hast exceeded Thy promise, for 'even the devils,'" &c. The possession ofsuch power, not being expressly in their commission, as in that to the Twelve (Lu 9:1), filled themwith more astonishment and joy than all else.through thy name—taking no credit to themselves, but feeling lifted into a region of unimaginedsuperiority to the powers of evil simply through their connection with Christ.18. I beheld—As much of the force of this glorious statement depends on the nice shade ofsense indicated by the imperfect tense in the original, it should be brought out in the translation: "Iwas beholding Satan as lightning falling from heaven"; that is, "I followed you on your mission,and watched its triumphs; while you were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name,a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven toearth, lo! Satan was beheld falling from heaven!" How remarkable is this, that by that law ofassociation which connects a part with the whole, those feeble triumphs of the Seventy seem tohave not only brought vividly before the Redeemer the whole ultimate result of His mission, butcompressed it into a moment and quickened it into the rapidity of lightning! Note.—The wordrendered "devils," is always used for those spiritual agents employed in demoniacalpossessions—never for the ordinary agency of Satan in rational men. When therefore the Seventysay, "the devils [demons] are subject to us," and Jesus replies, "Mine eye was beholding Satanfalling," it is plain that He meant to raise their minds not only from the particular to the general,but from a very temporary form of satanic operation to the entire kingdom of evil. (See Joh 12:31;and compare Isa 14:12).19. Behold, I give you, &c.—not for any renewal of their mission, though probably many ofthem afterwards became ministers of Christ; but simply as disciples.2080JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonserpents and scorpions—the latter more venomous than the former: literally, in the first instance(Mr 16:17, 18; Ac 28:5); but the next words, "and over all the power of the enemy, and nothingshall by any means hurt you," show that the glorious power of faith to "overcome the world" and"quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one," by the communication and maintenance of whichto His people He makes them innocuous, is what is meant (1Jo 5:4; Eph 6:16).20. rejoice not, &c.—that is, not so much. So far from forbidding it, He takes occasion fromit to tell them what had been passing in His own mind. But as power over demons was after allintoxicating, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their names in Heaven'sregister (Php 4:3).21, 22. Jesus … said, &c.—The very same sublime words were uttered by our Lord on a formersimilar occasion (see on Mt 11:25-27); but (1) There we are merely told that He "answered andsaid" thus; here, He "rejoiced in spirit and said," &c. (2) There it was merely "at that time" (orseason) that He spoke thus, meaning with a general reference to the rejection of His gospel by theself-sufficient; here, "In that hour Jesus said," with express reference probably to the humble classfrom which He had to draw the Seventy, and the similar class that had chiefly welcomed theirmessage. "Rejoice" is too weak a word. It is "exulted in spirit"—evidently giving visible expressionto His unusual emotions; while, at the same time, the words "in spirit" are meant to convey to thereader the depth of them. This is one of those rare cases in which the veil is lifted from off theRedeemer's inner man, that, angel-like, we may "look into it" for a moment (1Pe 1:12). Let us gazeon it with reverential wonder, and as we perceive what it was that produced that mysterious ecstasy,we shall find rising in our hearts a still rapture—"Oh, the depths!"23, 24. (See on Mt 13:16, 17).Lu 10:25-37. Question of a Lawyer and Parable of the Good Samaritan.25. tempted him—"tested him"; in no hostile spirit, yet with no tender anxiety for light on thatquestion of questions, but just to see what insight this great Galilean teacher had.26. What is written in the law—apposite question to a doctor of the law, and putting him inturn to the test [Bengel].27. Thou shalt, &c.—the answer Christ Himself gave to another lawyer. (See on Mr 12:29-33).28. he said, &c.—"Right; This do, and life is thine"—laying such emphasis on "this" as toindicate, without expressing it, where the real difficulty to a sinner lay, and thus nonplussing thequestioner himself.29. willing—"wishing," to get himself out of the difficulty, by throwing on Jesus the definitionof "neighbor," which the Jews interpreted very narrowly and technically, as excluding Samaritansand Gentiles [Alford].30. A certain man—a Jew.from Jerusalem to Jericho—a distance of nineteen miles northeast, a deep and very fertilehollow—"the Temple of Judea" [Trench].thieves—"robbers." The road, being rocky and desolate, was a notorious haunt of robbers, thenand for ages after, and even to this day.31, 32. came down a … priest … and a Levite—Jericho, the second city of Judea, was a cityof the priests and Levites, and thousands of them lived there. The two here mentioned are supposed,apparently, to be returning from temple duties, but they had not learnt what that meaneth, 'I willhave mercy and not sacrifice' [Trench].saw him—It was not inadvertently that he acted.2081JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesoncame and looked—a further aggravation.passed by—although the law expressly required the opposite treatment even of the beast notonly of their brethren, but of their enemy (De 22:4; Ex 23:4, 5; compare Isa 58:7).33. Samaritan—one excommunicated by the Jews, a byword among them, synonymous withheretic and devil (Joh 8:48; see on Lu 17:18).had compassion—His best is mentioned first; for "He who gives outward things gives somethingexternal to himself, but he who imparts compassion and tears gives him something from his veryself" [Gregory The Great, in Trench]. No doubt the priest and Levite had their excuses—It is not safe tobe lingering here; besides, he's past recovery; and then, may not suspicion rest upon ourselves? Somight the Samaritan have reasoned, but did not [Trench]. Nor did he say, He's a Jew, who wouldhave had no dealings with me (Joh 4:9), and why should I with him?34. oil and wine—the remedies used in such cases all over the East (Isa 1:6), and elsewhere;the wine to cleanse the wounds, the oil to assuage their smartings.on his own beast—himself going on foot.35. two pence—equal to two day's wages of a laborer, and enough for several days' support.36. Which … was neighbour?—a most dexterous way of putting the question: (1) Turningthe question from, "Whom am I to love as my neighbour?" to "Who is the man that shows thatlove?" (2) Compelling the lawyer to give a reply very different from what he would like—not onlycondemning his own nation, but those of them who should be the most exemplary. (3) Making himcommend one of a deeply hated race. And he does it, but it is almost extorted. For he does notanswer, "The Samaritan"—that would have sounded heterodox, heretical—but "He that showedmercy on him." It comes to the same thing, no doubt, but the circumlocution is significant.37. Go, &c.—O exquisite, matchless teaching! What new fountains of charity has not thisopened up in the human spirit—rivers in the wilderness, streams in the desert! What noble Christianinstitutions have not such words founded, all undreamed of till that wondrous One came to blessthis heartless world of ours with His incomparable love—first in words, and then in deeds whichhave translated His words into flesh and blood, and poured the life of them through that humanitywhich He made His own! Was this parable, now, designed to magnify the law of love, and to showwho fulfils it and who not? And who did this as never man did it, as our Brother Man, "ourNeighbor?" The priests and Levites had not strengthened the diseased, nor bound up the broken(Eze 34:4), while He bound up the brokenhearted (Isa 61:1), and poured into all wounded spiritsthe balm of sweetest consolation. All the Fathers saw through the thin veil of this noblest of stories,the Story of love, and never wearied of tracing the analogy (though sometimes fancifully enough)[Trench]. Exclaims Gregory Nazianzen (in the fourth century), "He hungered, but He fed thousands; Hewas weary, but He is the Rest of the weary; He is saluted 'Samaritan' and 'Demoniac,' but He saveshim that went down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves," &c.Lu 10:38-42. Martha and Mary.38. certain village—Bethany (Joh 11:1), which Luke so speaks of, having no farther occasionto notice it.received him … her house—The house belonged to her, and she appears throughout to be theolder sister.39. which also—"who for her part," in contrast with Martha.sat—"seated herself." From the custom of sitting beneath an instructor, the phrase "sitting atone's feet" came to mean being a disciple of any one (Ac 22:3).2082JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonheard—rather, "kept listening" to His word.40. cumbered—"distracted."came to him—"presented herself before Him," as from another apartment, in which her sisterhad "left her to serve (or make preparation) alone."carest thou not … my sister, &c.—"Lord, here am I with everything to do, and this sister ofmine will not lay a hand to anything; thus I miss something from Thy lips, and Thou from ourhands."bid her, &c.—She presumes not to stop Christ's teaching by calling her sister away, and thusleaving Him without His one auditor, nor did she hope perhaps to succeed if she had tried.41. Martha, Martha—emphatically redoubling upon the name.careful and cumbered—the one word expressing the inward worrying anxiety that herpreparations should be worthy of her Lord; the other, the outward bustle of those preparations.many things—"much service" (Lu 10:40); too elaborate preparation, which so engrossed herattention that she missed her Lord's teaching.42. one thing, &c.—The idea of "Short work and little of it suffices for Me" is not so much thelower sense of these weighty words, as supposed in them, as the basis of something far loftier thanany precept on economy. Underneath that idea is couched another, as to the littleness both ofelaborate preparation for the present life and of that life itself, compared with another.chosen the good part—not in the general sense of Moses' choice (Heb 11:25), and Joshua's(Jos 24:15), and David's (Ps 119:30); that is, of good in opposition to bad; but, of two good waysof serving and pleasing the Lord, choosing the better. Wherein, then, was Mary's better thanMartha's? Hear what follows.not be taken away—Martha's choice would be taken from her, for her services would die withher; Mary's never, being spiritual and eternal. Both were true-hearted disciples, but the one wasabsorbed in the higher, the other in the lower of two ways of honoring their common Lord. Yetneither despised, or would willingly neglect, the other's occupation. The one represents thecontemplative, the other the active style of the Christian character. A Church full of Marys wouldperhaps be as great an evil as a Church full of Marthas. Both are needed, each to be the complementof the other.CHAPTER 11Lu 11:1-13. The Disciples Taught to Pray.1. one, &c.—struck with either the matter or the manner of our Lord's prayers.as John, &c.—From this reference to John, it is possible that disciple had not heard the Sermonon the Mount. Nothing of John's inner teaching (to his own disciples) has been preserved to us, butwe may be sure he never taught his disciples to say, "Our Father."2-4. (See on Mt 6:9-13).3. day by day, &c.—an extension of the petition in Matthew for "this day's" supply, to everysuccessive day's necessities. The closing doxology, wanting here, is wanting also in all the bestand most ancient copies of Matthew's Gospel. Perhaps our Lord purposely left that part open: andas the grand Jewish doxologies were ever resounding, and passed immediately and naturally, in alltheir hallowed familiarity into the Christian Church, probably this prayer was never used in the2083JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonChristian assemblies but in its present form, as we find it in Matthew, while in Luke it has beenallowed to stand as originally uttered.5-8. at midnight … for a friend is come—The heat in warm countries makes evening preferableto-day for travelling; but "midnight" is everywhere a most unseasonable hour of call, and for thatvery reason it is here selected.7. Trouble me not—the trouble making him insensible both to the urgency of the case and theclaims of friendship.I cannot—without exertion which he would not make.8. importunity—The word is a strong one—"shamelessness"; persisting in the face of all thatseemed reasonable, and refusing to take a denial.as many, &c.—His reluctance once overcome, all the claims of friendship and necessity arefelt to the full. The sense is obvious: If the churlish and self-indulgent—deaf both to friendship andnecessity—can after a positive refusal, be won over, by sheer persistency, to do all that is needed,how much more may the same determined perseverance in prayer be expected to prevail with Himwhose very nature is "rich unto all that call upon Him" (Ro 10:12).9-13. (See on Mt 7:7-11.)13. the Holy Spirit—in Matthew (Mt 7:11), "good gifts"; the former, the Gift of gifts descendingon the Church through Christ, and comprehending the latter.Lu 11:14-36. Blind and Dumb Demoniac Healed—Charge of Being in League with Hell, and Reply—Demandof a Sign, and Reply.(See on Mt 12:22-45.)14. dumb—blind also (Mt 12:22).20. the finger of God—"the Spirit of God" (Mt 12:28); the former figuratively denoting thepower of God, the latter the living Personal Agent in every exercise of it.21, 22. strong man—meaning Satan.armed—pointing to all the subtle and varied methods by which he wields his dark power overmen.keepeth—"guardeth."his palace—man whether viewed more largely or in individual souls—how significant of whatmen are to Satan!in peace—undisturbed, secure in his possession.22. a stronger than he—Christ: Glorious title, in relation to Satan!come upon him and overcome him—sublimely expressing the Redeemer's approach, as theSeed of the woman, to bruise the Serpent's head.taketh from him all his armour—"his panoply," "his complete armor." Vain would be thevictory, were not the means of regaining his lost power wrested from him. It is this that completesthe triumph and ensures the final overthrow of his kingdom. The parable that immediately follows(Lu 11:24-26) is just the reverse of this. (See on Mt 12:43-45.) In the one case, Satan is dislodgedby Christ, and so finds, in all future assaults, the house preoccupied; in the other, he merely goesout and comes in again, finding the house "EMPTY" (Mt 12:44) of any rival, and all ready to welcomehim back. This explains the important saying that comes in between the two parables (Lu 11:23).Neutrality in religion there is none. The absence of positive attachment to Christ involves hostilityto Him.2084JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson23. gathereth … scattereth—referring probably to gleaners. The meaning seems to be, Whateverin religion is disconnected from Christ comes to nothing.27, 28. as he spake these things, a … woman of the company—of the multitude, the crowd.A charming little incident and profoundly instructive. With true womanly feeling, she envies themother of such a wonderful Teacher. Well, and higher and better than she had said as much beforeher (Lu 1:28, 42); and our Lord is far from condemning it. He only holds up—as "blessedrather"—the hearers and keepers of God's word; in other words, the humblest real saint of God.(See on Mt 12:49, 50.) How utterly alien is this sentiment from the teaching of the Church of Rome,which would excommunicate any one of its members who dared to talk in the spirit of this glorioussaying! (Also see on Mt 12:43.)29-32. (See on Mt 12:39-42.)33-36. (See on Mt 5:14-16; Mt 6:22, 23.) But Lu 11:36 here is peculiarly vivid, expressing whatpure, beautiful, broad perceptions the clarity of the inward eye imparts.Lu 11:37-54. Denunciation of the Pharisees.38. marvelled, &c.—(See Mr 7:2-4).39-41. cup and platter—remarkable example of our Lord's way of drawing the most strikingillustrations of great truths from the most familiar objects and incidents of life.ravening—rapacity.40. that which is without, &c.—that is, He to whom belongs the outer life, and right to demandits subjection to Himself—is the inner man less His?41. give alms … and … all … clean—a principle of immense value. As the greed of thesehypocrites was one of the most prominent features of their character (Lu 16:14; Mt 23:14), ourLord bids them exemplify the opposite character, and then their outside, ruled by this, would bebeautiful in the eye of God, and their meals would be eaten with clean hands, though never sofouled with the business of this worky world. (See Ec 9:7).42. mint … rue, &c.—rounding on Le 27:30, which they interpreted rigidly. Our Lord purposelynames the most trifling products of the earth, as examples of what they punctiliously exacted thetenth of.judgment and the love of God—in Mt 23:25, "judgment, mercy, and faith." The reference isto Mic 6:6-8, whose third element of all acceptable religion, "walking humbly with God,"comprehends both "love" and "faith." (See on Mr 12:29; Mr 12:32, 33). The same tendency tomerge greater duties in less besets us still, but it is the characteristic of hypocrites.these ought ye, &c.—There is no need for one set of duties to jostle out another; but of thegreater, our Lord says, "Ye ought to have done" them; of the lesser, only "ye ought not to leavethem undone."43. uppermost seats—(See on Lu 14:7-11).greetings—(See on Mt 23:7-10).44. appear not, &c.—As one might unconsciously walk over a grave concealed from view,and thus contract ceremonial defilement, so the plausible exterior of the Pharisees kept people fromperceiving the pollution they contracted from coming in contact with such corrupt characters. (SeePs 5:9; Ro 3:13; a different illustration from Mt 23:27).46. burdens grievous, &c.—referring not so much to the irksomeness of the legal rites (thoughthey were irksome, Ac 15:10), as to the heartless rigor with which they were enforced, and by menof shameless inconsistency.2085JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson47, 48. ye build, &c.—Out of pretended respect and honor, they repaired and beautified thesepulchres of the prophets, and with whining hypocrisy said, "If we had been in the days of ourfathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets," while all thetime they "were witnesses to themselves that they were the children of them that killed the prophets"(Mt 23:29, 30); convicting themselves daily of as exact a resemblance in spirit and character to thevery classes over whose deeds they pretended to mourn, as child to parent.49-51. said the wisdom, &c.—a remarkable variation of the words in Mt 23:34, "Behold ISEND." As there seems plainly an allusion to ancient warnings of what God would do with soincorrigible a people, so here Christ, stepping majestically into the place of God, so to speak, says,"Now I am going to carry all that out." Could this be other than the Lord of Israel in the flesh?50. all … required of this generation—As it was only in the last generation of them that "theiniquity of the Amorites was full" (Ge 15:16), and then the abominations of ages were at oncecompletely and awfully avenged, so the iniquity of Israel was allowed to accumulate from age toage till in that generation it came to the full, and the whole collected vengeance of Heaven brokeat once over its devoted head. In the first French Revolution the same awful principle wasexemplified, and Christendom has not done with it yet.prophets—in the New Testament sense (Mt 23:34; see 1Co 12:28).51. blood of Zacharias—Probably the allusion is not to any recent murder, but to 2Ch 24:20-22,as the last recorded and most suitable case for illustration. And as Zacharias' last words were, "TheLord require it," so they are warned that "of that generation it should be required."52. key of knowledge—not the key to open knowledge, but knowledge, the only key to openheaven. In Mt 23:13, they are accused of shutting heaven; here of taking away the key, which wasworse. A right knowledge of God's Word is eternal life (Joh 17:3); but this they took away fromthe people, substituting for it their wretched traditions.53, 54. Exceedingly vivid and affecting. They were stung to the quick—and can we wonder?—yethad not materials for the charge they were preparing against Him.provoke him, &c.—"to harass Him with questions."CHAPTER 12Lu 12:1-12. Warning against Hypocrisy.1-3. meantime—in close connection, probably, with the foregoing scene. Our Lord had beenspeaking out more plainly than ever before, as matters were coming to a head between Him andHis enemies, and this seems to have suggested to His own mind the warning here. He had justHimself illustriously exemplified His own precepts.his disciples first of all—afterwards to "the multitudes" (Lu 12:54).covered—from the view.2. hid—from knowledge. "Tis no use concealing anything, for all will one day come out. Givefree and fearless utterance then to all the truth." (Compare 1Co 4:3, 5).4, 5. I say, &c.—You will say, That may cost us our life. Be it so; but, "My friends, there theirpower ends." He calls them "my friends" here, not in any loose sense, but, as we think, from thefeeling He then had that in this "killing of the body" He and they were going to be affectingly onewith each other.2086JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson5. Fear Him … Fear Him—how striking the repetition here! Only the one fear would effectuallyexpel the other.after he hath killed, &c.—Learn here—(1) To play false with one's convictions to save one'slife, may fail of its end after all, for God can inflict a violent death in some other and equallyformidable way. (2) There is a hell, it seems, for the body as well as the soul; consequently, sufferingsadapted to the one as well as the other. (3) Fear of hell is a divinely authorized and needed motiveof action even to Christ's "friends." (4) As Christ's meekness and gentleness were not compromisedby such harsh notes as these, so those servants of Christ lack their Master's spirit who soften downall such language to please ears "polite." (See on Mr 9:43-48).6, 7. five … for two farthings—In Mt 10:29 it is "two for one farthing"; so if one took twofarthings' worth, he got one in addition—of such small value were they.than many sparrows—not "than millions of sparrows"; the charm and power of our Lord'steaching is very much in this simplicity.8, 9. confess … deny—The point lies in doing it "before men," because one has to do it"despising the shame." But when done, the Lord holds Himself bound to repay it in kind byconfessing such "before the angels of God." For the rest, see on Lu 9:26.10. Son of man … Holy Ghost—(See on Mt 12:31, 32).Lu 12:13-53. Covetousness—Watchfulness—Superiority to Earthly Ties.13. Master, &c.—that is, "Great Preacher of righteousness, help; there is need of Thee in thisrapacious world; here am I the victim of injustice, and that from my own brother, who withholdsfrom me my rightful share of the inheritance that has fallen to us." In this most inopportune intrusionupon the solemnities of our Lord's teaching, there is a mixture of the absurd and the irreverent, theone, however, occasioning the other. The man had not the least idea that his case was not of asurgent a nature, and as worthy the attention of our Lord, as anything else He could deal with.14. Man, &c.—Contrast this style of address with "my friends," (Lu 12:4).who, &c.—a question literally repudiating the office which Moses assumed (Ex 2:14). Theinfluence of religious teachers in the external relations of life has ever been immense, when onlythe INDIRECT effect of their teaching; but whenever they intermeddle DIRECTLY with secular andpolitical matters, the spell of that influence is broken.15. unto them—the multitude around Him (Lu 12:1).of covetousness—The best copies have "all," that is, "every kind of covetousness"; because asthis was one of the more plausible forms of it, so He would strike at once at the root of the evil.a man's life, &c.—a singularly weighty maxim, and not less so because its meaning and itstruth are equally evident.16-19. a certain rich man, &c.—Why is this man called a "fool?" (Lu 12:20) (1) Because hedeemed a life of secure and abundant earthly enjoyment the summit of human felicity. (2) Because,possessing the means of this, through prosperity in his calling, he flattered himself that he had along lease of such enjoyment, and nothing to do but give himself up to it. Nothing else is laid tohis charge.20, 21. this night, &c.—This sudden cutting short of his career is designed to express not onlythe folly of building securely upon the future, but of throwing one's whole soul into what may atany moment be gone. "Thy soul shall be required of thee" is put in opposition to his own treatmentof it, "I will say to my soul, Soul," &c.2087JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonwhose shall those things be, &c.—Compare Ps 39:6, "He heapeth up riches and knoweth notwho shall gather them."21. So is he, &c.—Such is a picture of his folly here, and of its awful issue.and is not rich toward God—lives to amass and enjoy riches which terminate on self, but asto the riches of God's favor, which is life (Ps 30:5), of "precious" faith (2Pe 1:1; Jas 2:5), of goodworks (1Ti 6:18), of wisdom which is better than rubies (Pr 8:11)—lives and dies a beggar!22-31. (See on Mt 6:25-33).25, 26. which of you, &c.—Corroding solicitude will not bring you the least of the things yefret about, though it may double the evil of wanting them. And if not the least, why vex yourselvesabout things of more consequence?29. of doubtful, &c.—unsettled mind; put off your balance.32. little flock, &c.—How sublime and touching a contrast between this tender and pityingappellation, "Little flock" (in the original a double diminutive, which in German can be expressed,but not in English)—and the "good pleasure" of the Father to give them the Kingdom; the onerecalling the insignificance and helplessness of that then literal handful of disciples, the otherholding up to their view the eternal love that encircled them, the everlasting arms that wereunderneath them, and the high inheritance awaiting them!—"the kingdom"; grand word; then whynot "bread" (Lu 12:31 [Bengel]). Well might He say, "Fear not!"33, 34. Sell, &c.—This is but a more vivid expression of Mt 6:19-21 (see on Mt 6:19-21).35-40. loins … girded—to fasten up the long outer garment, always done before travel andwork (2Ki 4:29; Ac 12:8). The meaning is, Be in readiness.lights, &c.—(See on Mt 25:1).36. return from the wedding—not come to it, as in the parable of the virgins. Both have theirspiritual significance; but preparedness for Christ's coming is the prominent idea.37. gird himself, &c.—"a promise the most august of all: Thus will the Bridegroom entertainhis friends (nay, servants) on the solemn Nuptial Day" [Bengel].38. second … third watch—To find them ready to receive Him at any hour of day or night,when one might least of all expect Him, is peculiarly blessed. A servant may be truly faithful, eventhough taken so far unawares that he has not everything in such order and readiness for his master'sreturn as he thinks is due to him, and both could and would have had if he had had notice of thetime of his coming, and so may not be willing to open to him "immediately," but fly to preparation,and let his master knock again ere he admit him, and even then not with full joy. A too commoncase this with Christians. But if the servant have himself and all under his charge in such a statethat at any hour when his master knocks, he can open to him "immediately," and hail his"return"—that is the most enviable, "blessed" servant of all.41-48. unto us or even to all?—us the Twelve, or all this vast audience?42. Who then, &c.—answering the question indirectly by another question, from which theywere left to gather what it would be:—To you certainly in the first instance, representing the"stewards" of the "household" I am about to collect, but generally to all "servants" in My house.faithful and wise—Fidelity is the first requisite in a servant, wisdom (discretion and judgmentin the exercise of his functions), the next.steward—house steward, whose it was to distribute to the servants their allotted portion offood.shall make—will deem fit to be made.2088JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson44. make him ruler over all he hath—will advance him to the highest post, referring to theworld to come. (See Mt 25:21, 23).45. begin to beat, &c.—In the confidence that his Lord's return will not be speedy, he throwsoff the role of servant and plays the master, maltreating those faithful servants who refuse to joinhim, seizing on and revelling in the fulness of his master's board; intending, when he has got hisfill, to resume the mask of fidelity ere his master appear.46. cut him in sunder—a punishment not unknown in the East; compare Heb 11:37, "sawnasunder" (1Sa 15:33; Da 2:5).the unbelievers—the unfaithful, those unworthy of trust (Mt 24:51), "the hypocrites," falselycalling themselves "servants."48. knew not—that is knew but partially; for some knowledge is presupposed both in the name"servant" of Christ, and his being liable to punishment at all.many … few stripes—degrees of future punishment proportioned to the knowledge sinnedagainst. Even heathens are not without knowledge enough for future judgment; but the referencehere is not to such. It is a solemn truth, and though general, like all other revelations of the futureworld, discloses a tangible and momentous principle in its awards.49-53. to send—cast.fire—"the higher spiritual element of life which Jesus came to introduce into this earth (compareMt 3:11), with reference to its mighty effects in quickening all that is akin to it and destroying allthat is opposed. To cause this element of life to take up its abode on earth, and wholly to pervadehuman hearts with its warmth, was the lofty destiny of the Redeemer" [Olshausen: so Calvin, Stier,Alford, &c.].what will I, &c.—an obscure expression, uttered under deep and half-smothered emotion. Inits general import all are agreed; but the nearest to the precise meaning seems to be, "And whatshould I have to desire if it were once already kindled?" [Bengel and Bloomfield].50. But … a baptism, &c.—clearly, His own bloody baptism, first to take place.how … straitened—not, "how do I long for its accomplishment," as many understand it, thusmaking it but a repetition of Lu 12:49; but "what a pressure of spirit is upon Me."till it be accomplished—till it be over. Before a promiscuous audience, such obscure languagewas fit on a theme like this; but oh, what surges of mysterious emotion in the view of what wasnow so near at hand does it reveal!51. peace … ? Nay, &c.—the reverse of peace, in the first instance. (See on Mt 10:34-36.) Theconnection of all this with the foregoing warnings about hypocrisy, covetousness, and watchfulness,is deeply solemn: "My conflict hasten apace; Mine over, yours begins; and then, let the servantstread in their Master's steps, uttering their testimony entire and fearless, neither loving nor dreadingthe world, anticipating awful wrenches of the dearest ties in life, but looking forward, as I do, tothe completion of their testimony, when, reaching the haven after the tempest, they shall enter intothe joy of their Lord."Lu 12:54-59. Not Discerning the Signs of the Time.54. to the people—"the multitude," a word of special warning to the thoughtless crowd, beforedismissing them. (See on Mt 16:2, 3).56. how … not discern, &c.—unable to perceive what a critical period that was for the JewishChurch.2089JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson57. why even of yourselves, &c.—They might say, To do this requires more knowledge ofScripture and providence than we possess; but He sends them to their own conscience, as enoughto show them who He was, and win them to immediate discipleship.58. When thou goest, &c.—(See on Mt 5:25, 26). The urgency of the case with them, and thenecessity, for their own safety, of immediate decision, was the object of these striking words.CHAPTER 13Lu 13:1-9. The Lesson, "REPENT OR Perish," Suggested by Two Recent Incidents, and Illustrated by the Parableof the Barren Fig Tree.1-3. Galileans—possibly the followers of Judas of Galilee, who, some twenty years beforethis, taught that Jews should not pay tribute to the Romans, and of whom we learn, from Ac 5:37,that he drew after him a multitude of followers, who on his being slain were all dispersed. Aboutthis time that party would be at its height, and if Pilate caused this detachment of them to be waylaidand put to death as they were offering their sacrifices at one of the festivals, that would be "minglingtheir blood with their sacrifices" [Grotius, Webster and Wilkinson, but doubted by De Wette, Meyer, Alford,&c.]. News of this being brought to our Lord, to draw out His views of such, and whether it wasnot a judgment of Heaven, He simply points them to the practical view of the matter: "These menare not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner—yeyourselves, except ye repent—shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a moreawful sense." The reference here to the impending destruction of Jerusalem is far from exhaustingour Lord's weighty words; they manifestly point to a "perdition" of a more awful kind—future,personal, remediless.4, 5. tower in Siloam—probably one of the towers of the city wall, near the pool of Siloam.Of its fall nothing is known.6-9. fig tree—Israel, as the visible witness of God in the world, but generally all within thepale of the visible Church of God; a familiar figure (compare Isa 5:1-7; Joh 15:1-8, &c.).vineyard—a spot selected for its fertility, separated from the surrounding fields, and cultivatedwith special care, with a view solely to fruit.came and sought fruit—a heart turned to God; the fruits of righteousness; compare Mt 21:33,34, and Isa 5:2, "He looked that it should bring forth fruit"; He has a right to it, and will require it.7. three years—a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficientperiod of culture for spiritual fruit. The supposed allusion to the duration of our Lord's ministry isprecarious.cut it down—indignant language.cumbereth—not only doing no good, but wasting ground.8. he answering, &c.—Christ, as Intercessor, loath to see it cut down so long as there was anyhope (see Lu 13:34).dig, &c.—loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure; pointing to changes of methodin the divine treatment of the impenitent, in order to freshen spiritual culture.9. if … fruit, well—Genuine repentance, however late, avails to save (Lu 23:42, 43).after that, &c.—The final perdition of such as, after the utmost limits of reasonable forbearance,are found fruitless, will be pre-eminently and confessedly just (Pr 1:24-31; Eze 24:13).2090JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonLu 13:10-17. Woman of Eighteen Year's Infirmity Healed on the Sabbath.11. spirit of infirmity—Compare Lu 13:17, "whom Satan hath bound." From this it is probable,though not certain, that her protracted infirmity was the effect of some milder form of possession;yet she was "a daughter of Abraham," in the same gracious sense, no doubt, as Zaccheus, after hisconversion, was "a son of Abraham" (Lu 19:9).12, 13. said … Woman … and laid—both at once.14. with indignation—not so much at the sabbath violation as at the glorification of Christ.(Compare Mt 21:15) [Trench].said to the people—"Not daring directly to find fault with the Lord, he seeks circuitously toreach Him through the people, who were more under his influence, and whom he feared less"[Trench].15. the Lord—(See on Lu 10:1).hypocrite!—How "the faithful and true Witness" tears off the masks which men wear!his ox, &c.—(See on Mt 12:9-13; and Lu 6:9).16. ought not, &c.—How gloriously the Lord vindicates the superior claims of this woman, inconsideration of the sadness and long duration of her suffering, and of her dignity notwithstanding,as an heir of the promise!Lu 13:18-30. Miscellaneous Teachings.18-21. mustard seed … leaven—(See on Mr 4:30-32). The parable of "the Leaven" sets forth,perhaps, rather the inward growth of the kingdom, while "the Mustard Seed" seems to point chieflyto the outward. It being a woman's work to knead, it seems a refinement to say that "the woman"here represents the Church, as the instrument of depositing the leaven. Nor does it yield muchsatisfaction to understand the "three measures of meal" of that threefold division of our nature into"spirit, soul, and body," (alluded to in 1Th 5:23) or of the threefold partition of the world amongthe three sons of Noah (Ge 10:32), as some do. It yields more real satisfaction to see in this briefparable just the all-penetrating and assimilating quality of the Gospel, by virtue of which it willyet mould all institutions and tribes of men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "Kingdom of ourLord and of His Christ." (See on Re 11:15).23. Lord, &c.—one of those curious questions by talking of which some flatter themselvesthey are religious.said unto them—the multitude; taking no notice of the man or his question, save as furnishingthe occasion of a solemn warning not to trifle with so momentous a matter as "salvation."24. Strive—The word signifies to "contend" as for the mastery, to "struggle," expressive of thedifficulty of being saved, as if one would have to force his way in.strait gate—another figure of the same. (See on Mt 7:13, 14).for many … will seek—"desire," that is, with a mere wish or slothful endeavor.and shall not be able—because it must be made a life-and-death struggle.25. master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door—awfully sublime and vividpicture! At present he is represented as in a sitting posture, as if calmly looking on to see who will"strive," while entrance is practicable, and who will merely "seek" to enter in. But this is to havean end, by the great Master of the house Himself rising and shutting the door, after which therewill be no admittance.Lord, Lord—emphatic reduplication, expressive of the earnestness now felt, but too late. (Seeon Mt 7:21, 22).2091JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson26, 27. See on the similar passage (Mt 7:22, 23).eaten and drunk, &c.—We have sat with Thee at the same table. (See on Mt 7:22).taught in our streets—Do we not remember listening in our own streets to Thy teaching?Surely we are not to be denied admittance?27. But he shall say, &c.—(See on Mt 7:23). No nearness of external communion with Christwill avail at the great day, in place of that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.Observe the style which Christ intimates that He will then assume, that of absolute Disposer ofmen's eternal destinies, and contrast it with His "despised and rejected" condition at that time.28, 29. (See Mt 8:11, 12). Also see on Mt 13:42.Lu 13:31-35. Message to Herod.31. and depart hence—and "go forward," push on. He was on His way out of Perea, east ofJordan, and in Herod's dominions, "journeying towards Jerusalem" (Lu 13:22). Haunted by guiltyfears, probably, Herod wanted to get rid of Him (see on Mr 6:14), and seems, from our Lord'sanswer, to have sent these Pharisees, under pretense of a friendly hint, to persuade Him that thesooner He got beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety. Our Lord sawthrough both of them, and sends the cunning ruler a message couched in dignified and befittingirony.32. that fox—that crafty, cruel enemy of God's innocent servants.Behold, I cast out devils and I do cures—that is, "Plot on and ply thy wiles; I also have Myplans; My works of mercy are nearing completion, but some yet remain; I have work for to-dayand to-morrow too, and the third day; by that time I shall be where his jurisdiction reaches not; theguilt of My blood shall not lie at his door; that dark deed is reserved for others." He does not say,I preach the Gospel—that would have made little impression upon Herod—in the light of themerciful character of Christ's actions the malice of Herod's snares is laid bare [Bengel].to-day, to-morrow, the third day—remarkable language expressive of successive steps of Hiswork yet remaining, the calm deliberateness with which He meant to go through with them, oneafter another, to the last, unmoved by Herod's threat, yet the rapid march with which they werenow hastening to completion. (Compare Lu 22:37).I shall be perfected—I finish my course, I attain completion.33. it cannot be that a prophet, &c.—"It would never do that," &c.—awful severity of satirethis upon "the bloody city!" "He seeks to kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod's jurisdictionfor that. Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets'slaughter-house."34, 35. O Jerusalem, &c.—(See on Mt 23:37; Mt 23:39).CHAPTER 14Lu 14:1-24. Healing of a Dropsical Man, and Manifold Teachings at a Sabbath Feast.2. man before him—not one of the company, since this was apparently before the guests satdown, and probably the man came in hope of a cure, though not expressly soliciting it [De Wette].3-6. (See on Mt 12:11, 12).7-11. a parable—showing that His design was not so much to inculcate mere politeness orgood manners, as underneath this to teach something deeper (Lu 14:11).2092JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonchief rooms—principal seats, in the middle part of the couch on which they reclined at meals,esteemed the most honorable.8. wedding—and seating thyself at the wedding feast. Our Lord avoids the appearance ofpersonality by this delicate allusion to a different kind of entertainment than this of his host [Bengel].9. the lowest—not a lower merely [Bengel].with shame—"To be lowest is only ignominious to him who affects the highest" [Bengel].10. Friend—said to the modest guest only, not the proud one (Lu 14:9) [Bengel].worship—honor. The whole of this is but a reproduction of Pr 25:6, 7. But it was reserved forthe matchless Teacher to utter articulately, and apply to the regulation of the minutest features ofsocial life, such great laws of the Kingdom of God, as that of Lu 14:11.11. whosoever, &c.—couching them in a chaste simplicity and proverbial terseness of stylewhich makes them "apples of gold in a setting of silver." (See on Lu 18:14).12-14. call not thy friends—Jesus certainly did not mean us to dispense with the duties ofordinary fellowship, but, remitting these to their proper place, inculcates what is better [Bengel].lest … a recompense be given thee—a fear the world is not afflicted with [Bengel]. The meaning,however, is that no exercise of principle is involved in it, as selfishness itself will suffice to promptto it (Mt 5:46, 47).13. call the poor—"Such God Himself calls" (Lu 14:21) [Bengel].14. blessed—acting from disinterested, god-like compassion for the wretched.15-24. when one … heard … he said, Blessed, &c.—As our Lord's words seemed to holdforth the future "recompense" under the idea of a great Feast, the thought passes through this man'smind, how blessed they would be who should be honored to sit down to it. Our Lord's reply is insubstance this: "The great Feast is prepared already; the invitations are issued, but declined; thefeast, notwithstanding, shall not want abundance of guests; but not one of its presentcontemners—who shall yet come to sue for admission—shall be allowed to taste of it." This showswhat was lacking in the seemingly pious exclamation of this man. It was Balaam's, "Let me die thedeath of the righteous, and let my last end be like his" (Nu 23:10), without any anxiety about livinghis life; fondly wishing that all were right with him at last, while all heedless of the precious present.16. a great supper—(Compare Isa 25:6).bade many—historically, the Jews (see on Mt 22:3); generally, those within the pale of professeddiscipleship.17. supper-time … all now ready—pointing undoubtedly to the now ripening preparationsfor the great Gospel call. (See on Mt 22:4.)18. all began to make excuse—(Compare Mt 22:5). Three excuses, given as specimens of therest, answer to "the care of this world" (Lu 14:18), "the deceitfulness of riches" (Lu 14:19), and"the pleasures of this life" (Lu 14:20), which "choke the word" (Mt 13:22 and Lu 8:14). Each differsfrom the other, and each has its own plausibility, but all come to the same result: "We have otherthings to attend to, more pressing just now." Nobody is represented as saying, I will not come; nay,all the answers imply that but for certain things they would come, and when these are out of theway they will come. So it certainly is in the case intended, for the last words clearly imply that therefusers will one day become petitioners.21. came, and showed, &c.—saying as in Isa 53:1. "It is the part of ministers to report to theLord in their prayers the compliance or refusal of their hearers" [Bengel].2093JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonangry—in one sense a gracious word, showing how sincere he was in issuing his invitations(Eze 33:11). But it is the slight put upon him, the sense of which is intended to be marked by thisword.streets and lanes—historically, those within the same pale of "the city" of God as the formerclass, but the despised and outcasts of the nation, the "publicans and sinners" [Trench]; generally,all similar classes, usually overlooked in the first provision for supplying the means of grace to acommunity, half heathen in the midst of revealed light, and in every sense miserable.22. yet there is room—implying that these classes had embraced the invitation (Mt 21:32; Mr12:37, last clause; Joh 7:48, 49); and beautifully expressing the longing that should fill the heartsof ministers to see their Master's table filled.23. highways and hedges—outside the city altogether; historically, the heathen, sunk in thelowest depths of spiritual wretchedness, as being beyond the pale of all that is revealed and saving,"without Christ, strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in theworld" (Eph 2:12); generally, all such still. Thus, this parable prophetically contemplates theextension of the kingdom of God to the whole world; and spiritually, directs the Gospel invitationsto be carried to the lowest strata, and be brought in contact with the outermost circles, of humansociety.compel them to come in—not as if they would make the "excuses" of the first class, but becauseit would be hard to get them over two difficulties: (1) "We are not fit company for such a feast."(2) "We have no proper dress, and are ill in order for such a presence." How fitly does this representthe difficulties and fears of the sincere! How is this met? "Take no excuse—make them come asthey are—bring them along with you." What a directory for ministers of Christ!that my house may be filled—"Grace no more than nature will endure a vacuum" [Bengel].24. I say unto you, That none—Our Lord here appears to throw off the veil of the parable,and proclaim the Supper His own, intimating that when transferred and transformed into its finalglorious form, and the refusers themselves would give all for another opportunity, He will not allowone of them to taste it. (Note. This parable must not be confounded with that of Pr 1:24-33; TheMarriage Supper, Mt 22:2-14).Lu 14:25-35. Address to Great Multitudes Travelling with Him.25. great multitudes with him—on His final journey to Jerusalem. The "great multitudes"were doubtless people going to the passover, who moved along in clusters (Lu 2:44), and who onthis occasion falling in with our Lord had formed themselves into one mass about Him.26, 27. If any man, &c.—(See on Mt 10:34-36, and Mr 8:34, 35).28-33. which of you, &c.—Common sense teaches men not to begin any costly work withoutfirst seeing that they have wherewithal to finish. And he who does otherwise exposes himself togeneral ridicule. Nor will any wise potentate enter on a war with any hostile power without firstseeing to it that, despite formidable odds (two to one), he be able to stand his ground; and if he hasno hope of this, he will feel that nothing remains for him but to make the best terms he can. Evenso, says our Lord, "in the warfare you will each have to wage as My disciples, despise not yourenemy's strength, for the odds are all against you; and you had better see to it that, despite everydisadvantage, you still have wherewithal to hold out and win the day, or else not begin at all, andmake the best you can in such awful circumstances." In this simple sense of the parable (Stier, Alford,&c., go wide of the mark here in making the enemy to be God, because of the "conditions of peace,"Lu 14:32), two things are taught: (1) Better not begin (Re 3:15), than begin and not finish. (2)2094JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonThough the contest for salvation be on our part an awfully unequal one, the human will, in theexercise of that "faith which overcometh the world" (1Jo 5:4), and nerved by power from above,which "out of weakness makes it strong" (Heb 11:34; 1Pe 1:5), becomes heroical and will comeoff "more than conqueror." But without absolute surrender of self the contest is hopeless (Lu 14:33).34, 35. Salt, &c.—(See on Mt 5:13-16; and Mr 9:50).CHAPTER 15Lu 15:1-32. Publicans and Sinners Welcomed by Christ—Three Parables to Explain This.1. drew near … all the publicans and sinners, &c.—drawn around Him by the extraordinaryadaptation of His teaching to their case, who, till He appeared—at least His forerunner—mightwell say, "No man careth for my soul."2. murmured, saying, &c.—took it ill, were scandalized at Him, and insinuated (on the principlethat a man is known by the company he keeps) that He must have some secret sympathy with theircharacter. But oh, what a truth of unspeakable preciousness do their lips, as on other occasions,unconsciously utter., Now follow three parables representing the sinner: (1) in his stupidity; (2) asall-unconscious of his lost condition; (3) knowingly and willingly estranged from God [Bengel]. Thefirst two set forth the seeking love of God; the last, His receiving love [Trench].Lu 15:3-7. I. The Lost Sheep.3-7. Occurring again (Mt 18:12-14); but there to show how precious one of His sheep is to theGood Shepherd; here, to show that the shepherd, though the sheep stray never so widely, will seekit out, and when he hath found, will rejoice over it.4. leave the ninety and nine—bend all His attention and care, as it were, to the one object ofrecovering the lost sheep; not saying. "It is but one; let it go; enough remain."go after … until, &c.—pointing to all the diversified means which God sets in operation forrecovering sinners.6. Rejoice with me, &c.—The principle here is, that one feels exuberant joy to be almost toomuch for himself to bear alone, and is positively relieved by having others to share it with him.(See on Lu 15:10).7. ninety-nine just … needing no repentance—not angels, whose place in these parables isvery different from this; but those represented by the prodigal's well-behaved brother, who have"served their Father" many years and not at any time transgressed His commandment (in theoutrageous sense of the prodigal). (See on Lu 15:29; Lu 15:31). In other words, such as have grownup from childhood in the fear of God and as the sheep of His pasture. Our Lord does not say "thePharisees and scribes" were such; but as there was undoubtedly such a class, while "the publicansand sinners" were confessedly the strayed sheep and the prodigal children, He leaves them to fillup the place of the other class, if they could.Lu 15:8-10. II. The Lost Coin.8. sweep the house—"not done without dust on man's part" [Bengel].10. Likewise—on the same principle.joy, &c.—Note carefully the language here—not "joy on the part," but "joy in the presence ofthe angels of God." True to the idea of the parables. The Great Shepherd. The Great Owner Himself,is He whose the joy properly is over His own recovered property; but so vast and exuberant is it2095JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson(Zec 8:17), that as if He could not keep it to Himself, He "calleth His friends and neighborstogether"—His whole celestial family—saying, "Rejoice WITH Me, for I have found Mysheep-My-piece," &c. In this sublime sense it is "joy," before "or in the presence of the angels";they only "catch the flying joy," sharing it with Him! The application of this to the reception ofthose publicans and sinners that stood around our Lord is grand in the extreme: "Ye turn from theselost ones with disdain, and because I do not the same, ye murmur at it: but a very different feelingis cherished in heaven. There, the recovery of even one such outcast is watched with interest andhailed with joy; nor are they left to come home of themselves or perish; for lo! even now the greatShepherd is going after His lost sheep, and the Owner is making diligent search for the lost property;and He is finding it, too, and bringing it back with joy, and all heaven is full of it." (Let the readermark what sublime claims Himself our Lord covertly puts in here—as if in Him they beheld, allunknown to themselves, nothing less than heaven in the habiliments of earth, the Great Shepherdabove, clothed in a garment of flesh, come "to seek and to save that which was lost")!Lu 15:11-32. III. The Prodigal Son.12. the younger—as the more thoughtless.said, &c.—weary of restraint, panting for independence, unable longer to abide the check of afather's eye. This is man impatient of divine control, desiring to be independent of God, seeking tobe his own master; that "sin of sins, in which all subsequent sins are included as in their germ, forthey are but the unfolding of this one" [Trench].he divided, &c.—Thus "God, when His service no longer appears a perfect freedom, and manpromises himself something far better elsewhere, allows him to make the trial; and he shall discover,if need be by saddest proof, that to depart from Him is not to throw off the yoke, but to exchangea light yoke for a heavy one, and one gracious Master for a thousand imperious tyrants and lords"[Trench].13. not many days—intoxicated with his new—found resources, and eager for the luxury ofusing them at Will.a far country—beyond all danger of interference from home.wasted, &c.—So long as it lasted, the inward monitor (Isa 55:2) would be silenced (Isa 9:10;57:10; Am 4:6-10).riotous living—(Lu 15:30), "with harlots." Ah! but this reaches farther than the sensualist; for"in the deep symbolical language of Scripture fornication is the standing image of idolatry; theyare in fact ever spoken of as one and the same sin, considered now in its fleshly, now in its spiritualaspect" (Jer 3:1-15; Eze 16:1-17:24) [Trench].14. when he had spent all … a mighty famine—a mysterious providence holding back thefamine till he was in circumstances to feel it in all its rigor. Thus, like Jonah, whom the storm didnot overtake till on the mighty deep at the mercy of the waves, does the sinner feel as if "the starsin their courses were fighting against" him (Jud 5:20).in want—the first stage of his bitter experience, and preparation for a change.15. joined himself, &c.—his pride not yet humbled, unable to brook the shame of a return.to feed swine—glad to keep life anyhow, behold the son sank into a swineherd—among theJews, on account of the prohibition of swine's flesh, emphatically vile! "He who begins by usingthe world as a servant, to minister to his pleasure, ends by reversing the relationship" [Trench].16. would fain have filled—rather, "was fain to fill," ate greedily of the only food he couldget.2096JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthe husks—"the hulls of a leguminous plant which in the East is the food of cattle and swine,and often the nourishment of the poorest in times of distress" [Stier].no man gave … him—not this food, for that he had, but anything better (Jer 30:14). This washis lowest depth—perishing unpitied, alone in the world, and ready to disappear from it unmissed!But this is just the blessed turning-point; midnight before dawn of day (2Ch 12:8; 33:11-13; Jer2:19).17. came to himself—Before, he had been "beside himself" (Ec 9:3), in what sense will presentlyappear.How many hired, &c.—What a testimony to the nature of the home he had left! But did henot know all this ere he departed and every day of his voluntary exile? He did, and he did not. Hisheart being wholly estranged from home and steeped in selfish gratification, his father's house nevercame within the range of his vision, or but as another name for bondage and gloom. Now empty,desolate, withered, perishing, home, with all its peace, plenty, freedom, dignity, starts into view,fills all his visions as a warm and living reality, and breaks his heart.18. I will arise and go to my FATHER—The change has come at last, and what achange!—couched in terms of such exquisite simplicity and power as if expressly framed for allheart-broken penitents.Father, &c.—Mark the term. Though "no more worthy to be called his son," the prodigal sinneris taught to claim the defiled, but still existing relationship, asking not to be made a servant, butremaining a son to be made "as a servant," willing to take the lowest place and do the meanestwork. Ah! and is it come to this? Once it was, "Any place rather than home." Now, "Oh, that home!Could I but dare to hope that the door of it would not be closed against me, how gladly would Itake any place and do any worK, happy only to be there at all." Well, that is conversion—nothingabsolutely new, yet all new; old familiar things seen in a new light and for the first time as realitiesof overwhelming magnitude and power. How this is brought about the parable says not. (We havethat abundantly elsewhere, Php 2:13, &c.). Its one object is to paint the welcome home of the greatestsinners, when (no matter for the present how) they "arise and go to their Father."20. a great way off—Oh yes, when but the face is turned homeward, though as yet far, faraway, our Father recognizes His own child in us, and bounds to meet us—not saying, Let him cometo Me and sue for pardon first, but Himself taking the first step.fell on his neck and kissed him—What! In all his filth? Yes. In all his rags? Yes. In all hishaggard, shattered wretchedness? Yes. "Our Father who art in heaven," is this Thy portraiture? Itis even so (Jer 31:20). And because it is so, I wonder not that such incomparable teaching hathmade the world new.21. Father, I have sinned, &c.—"This confession is uttered after the kiss of reconciliation"(Eze 16:63) [Trench].22. But the Father said, &c.—The son has not said all he purposed, not so much, because thefather's demonstrations had rekindled the filial, and swallowed up all servile feeling [Trench] (onthe word "Father," see on Lu 15:18), but because the father's heart is made to appear too full tolisten, at that moment, to more in this strain.the best robe—Compare Zec 3:4, 5, "Take away the filthy garments from him; behold I haveclothed thee with change of raiment; and they clothed him with garments" (Isa 61:10; Re 3:18).a ring—(Compare Ge 41:42; Jas 2:2).2097JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonshoes—Slaves went barefoot. Thus, we have here a threefold symbol of freedom and honor,restored, as the fruit of perfect reconciliation.23. the fatted calf—kept for festive occasions.24. my son—now twice his son.dead … lost—to me; to himself—to my service, my satisfaction; to his own dignity, peace,profit.alive again … found—to all these.merry—(See on Lu 15:10).25. in the field—engaged in his father's business: compare Lu 15:29, "These many years do Iserve thee."28. came his father out, and entreated him—"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lordpitieth them that fear Him" (Ps 103:13). As it is the elder brother who now errs, so it is the samepaternal compassion which had fallen on the neck of the younger that comes forth and pleads withthe elder.29. these many years … neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment—The wordsare not to be pressed too far. He is merely contrasting his constancy of love and service with theconduct of his brother; just as Job, resenting the charge of hypocrisy by his friends, speaks as ifnothing could be laid to his charge (Job 23:10-12), and David too (Ps 18:20-24). The father atteststhe truth of all he says.never … a kid—I say not a calf, but not even a kid.that I might make merry with my friends—Here lay his misapprehension. It was noentertainment for the gratification of the prodigal: it was a father's expression of the joy he felt athis recovery.thy son … thy living—How unworthy a reflection on the common father of both, for the onenot only to disown the other, but fling him over upon his father, as if he should say, Take him, andhave joy of him!31. Son, &c.—The father resents not the insult—how could he, after the largeness of heartwhich had kissed the returning prodigal? He calmly expostulates with him, "Son, listen to reason.What need for special, exuberant joy over thee? Didst thou say, 'Lo, these many years do I servethee?' In that saidst thou truly; but just for that reason do I not set the whole household a-rejoicingover thee. For thee is reserved what is higher still—a tranquil lifelong satisfaction in thee, as atrue-hearted faithful son in thy father's house, nor of the inheritance reserved for thee is aughtalienated by this festive and fitting joy over the once foolish but now wise and newly recoveredone."32. It was meet—Was it possible he should simply take his long vacant place in the familywithout one special sign of wonder and delight at the change? Would that have been nature? Butthis being the meaning of the festivity, it would for that very reason be temporary. In time, thedutifulness of even the younger son would become the law and not the exception; he too at lengthmight venture to say, "Lo, these many years do I serve thee"; and of him the father would say, "Son,thou art ever with me." In that case, therefore, it would not be "meet that they should make merryand be glad." The lessons are obvious, but how beautiful! (1) The deeper sunk and the longerestranged any sinner is, the more exuberant is the joy which his recovery occasions. (2) Such joyis not the portion of those whose whole lives have been spent in the service of their Father in heaven.(3) Instead of grudging the want of this, they should deem it the highest testimony to their lifelong2098JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonfidelity, that something better is reserved for them—the deep, abiding complacency of their Fatherin heaven.CHAPTER 16Lu 16:1-31. Parables of the Unjust Steward and of the Rich Man and Lazarus, or, the Right Use of Money.1. steward—manager of his estate.accused—informed upon.had wasted—rather, "was wasting."3. cannot dig … to beg, ashamed—therefore, when dismissed, shall be in utter want.4. may receive me, &c.—Observe his one object—when cast out of one home to secure another.This is the key to the parable, on which there have been many differing views.5-7. fifty … fourscore—deducting a half from the debt of the one, and a fifth from that of theother.8. the lord—evidently the steward's lord, so called in Lu 16:3, 5.commended, &c.—not for his "injustice," but "because he had done wisely," or prudently; withcommendable foresight and skilful adaptation of means to end.children of this world—so Lu 20:34; compare Ps 17:14 ("their portion in this life"); Php 3:19("mind earthly things"); Ps 4:6, 7.their generation—or "for their generation"—that is, for the purposes of the "world" they are"of." The greater wisdom (or shrewdness) of the one, in adaptation of means to ends, and in energetic,determined prosecution of them, is none of it for God and eternity—a region they were never in,an atmosphere they never breathed, an undiscovered world, an unborn existence to them—but allfor the purposes of their own grovelling and fleeting generation.children of light—(so Joh 12:36; Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:5). Yet this is only "as night-birds see betterin the dark than those of the day owls than eagles" [Cajetan and Trench]. But we may learn lessonsfrom them, as our Lord now shows, and "be wise as serpents."9. Make … friends of—Turn to your advantage; that is, as the steward did, "by showing mercyto the poor" (Da 4:27; compare Lu 12:33; 14:13, 14).mammon of unrighteousness—treacherous, precarious. (See on Mt 6:24).ye fail—in respect of life.they may receive you—not generally, "ye may be received" (as Lu 6:38, "shall men give"),but "those ye have relieved may rise up as witnesses for you" at the great day. Then, like the steward,when turned out of one home shall ye secure another; but better than he, a heavenly for an earthly,an everlasting for a temporary habitation. Money is not here made the key to heaven, more than"the deeds done in the body" in general, according to which, as a test of character—but not by themerit of which—men are to be judged (2Co 5:10, and see Mt 25:34-40).10. He, &c.—a maxim of great pregnancy and value; rising from the prudence which the stewardhad to the fidelity which he had not, the "harmlessness of the dove, to which the serpent" with allhis "wisdom" is a total stranger. Fidelity depends not on the amount entrusted, but on the sense ofresponsibility. He that feels this in little will feel it in much, and conversely.11, 12. unrighteous mammon—To the whole of this He applies the disparaging term "whatis least," in contrast with "the true riches."2099JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson12. another man's … your own—an important turn to the subject. Here all we have is on trustas stewards, who have an account to render. Hereafter, what the faithful have will be their ownproperty, being no longer on probation, but in secure, undisturbed, rightful, everlasting possessionand enjoyment of all that is graciously bestowed on us. Thus money is neither to be idolized nordespised: we must sit loose to it and use it for God's glory.13. can serve—be entirely at the command of; and this is true even where the services are notopposed.hate … love—showing that the two here intended are in uncompromising hostility to eachother: an awfully searching principle!14-18. covetous … derided him—sneered at Him; their master sin being too plainly struck atfor them to relish. But it was easier to run down than to refute such teaching.15. justify yourselves—make a show of righteousness.highly esteemed among men—generally carried away by plausible appearances. (See 1Sa16:7; and Lu 14:11).16. The law, &c.—(See Mt 11:13).and every man presseth, &c.—Publicans and sinners, all indiscriminately, are eagerly pressinginto it; and ye, interested adherents of the mere forms of an economy which is passing away,"discerning not the signs of this time," will allow the tide to go past you and be found a strandedmonument of blindness and obstinacy.17. it is easier, &c.—(See on Mt 5:17, 18)18. putteth away his wife, &c.—(See on Mt 19:3-9). Far from intending to weaken the forceof the law, in these allusions to a new economy, our Lord, in this unexpected way, sends home itshigh requirements with a pungency which the Pharisees would not fail to feel.19. purple and fine linen, &c.—(Compare Es 8:15; Re 18:12); wanting nothing which tasteand appetite craved and money could procure.20, 21. laid—having to be carried and put down.full of sores—open, running, "not closed, nor bound up, nor mollified with ointment" (Isa 1:6).21. desiring to be fed with—but was not [Grotius, Bengel, Meyer, Trench, &c.]. The words maymean indeed "was fain to feed on," or "gladly fed on," as in Lu 15:16 [Alford, Webster and Wilkinson,&c.]. But the context rather favors the former.licked, &c.—a touching act of brute pity, in the absence of human relief. It is a case of heartlessindifference, amidst luxuries of every kind, to one of God's poorest and most afflicted ones, presenteddaily before the eye.22. died—His burial was too unimportant to mention; while "the rich man died and wasburied"—his carcass carried in pomp to its earthly resting-place.in to Abraham's bosom—as if seen reclining next to Him at the heavenly feast (Mt 8:11).23. in hell—not the final place of the lost (for which another word is used), but as we say "theunseen world." But as the object here is certainly to depict the whole torment of the one and theperfect bliss of the other, it comes in this case to much the same.seeth Abraham—not God, to whom therefore he cannot cry [Bengel].24. Father Abraham—a well-founded, but unavailing, claim of natural descent (Lu 3:8; Joh8:37).mercy on me—who never showed any (Jas 2:3).send Lazarus—the pining victim of his merciless neglect.2100JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonthat he may—take me hence? No; that he dares not to ask.dip … tongue—that is the least conceivable and the most momentary abatement of his torment;that is all. But even this he is told is (1) unreasonable.25, 26. Son—stinging acknowledgment of the claimed relationship.thou … Lazarus, &c.—As it is a great law of God's kingdom, that the nature of our presentdesires shall rule that of our future bliss, so by that law, he whose "good things," craved and enjoyed,were all bounded by time, could look for none after his connection with time had come to an end(Lu 6:24). But by this law, he whose "evil things," all crowded into the present life, drove him toseek, and find, consolation in a life beyond the grave, is by death released from all evil and usheredinto unmixed and uninterrupted good (Lu 6:21). (2) It is impossible.26. besides all this—independently of this consideration.a great gulf fixed—By an irrevocable decree there has been placed a vast impassable abyssbetween the two states, and the occupants of each.27-31. Then he said—now abandoning all hope for himself.send him to my father's house, &c.—no waking up of good in the heart of the lost, but bitterreproach against God and the old economy, as not warning him sufficiently [Trench]. The answerof Abraham is, They are sufficiently warned.30. Nay—giving the lie to Abraham.but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent—a principle of awful magnitudeand importance. The greatest miracle will have no effect on those who are determined not to believe.A real Lazarus soon "rose from the dead," but the sight of him by crowds of people, inclined therebyto Christ, only crowned the unbelief and hastened the murderous plots of the Pharisees against theLord of glory; nor has His own resurrection, far more overpowering, yet won over that "crookedand perverse nation."CHAPTER 17Lu 17:1-10. Offenses—Faith—Humility.1, 2. (See Mt 18:6, 7).3, 4. (See on Mt 18:15-17; Mt 18:21, 22).4. seven times—not a lower measure of the forgiving spirit than the "seventy times seven"enjoined on Peter, which was occasioned by his asking if he was to stop at seven times. "No," isthe virtual answer, "though it come to seventy times that number, if only he ask forgiveness insincerity."5. Lord—(See on Lu 10:1).increase our faith—moved by the difficulty of avoiding and forgiving "offenses." This is theonly instance in which a spiritual operation upon their souls was solicited of Christ by the Twelve;but a kindred and higher prayer had been offered before, by one with far fewer opportunities. (Seeon Mr 9:24.)6. sycamine—mulberry. (See on Mr 11:22-24.)7-10. say unto him by and by—The "by and by" (or rather "directly") should be joined not tothe saying but the going: "Go directly." The connection here is: "But when your faith has been so2101JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonincreased as both to avoid and forgive offenses, and do things impossible to all but faith, be notpuffed up as though you had laid the Lord under any obligations to you."9. I trow not—or, as we say, when much more is meant, "I should think not."10. unprofitable—a word which, though usually denoting the opposite of profit, is here usedsimply in its negative sense. "We have not, as his servants, profited or benefited God at all."(Compare Job 22:2, 3; Ro 11:35.)Lu 17:11-19. Ten Lepers Cleansed.11-13. through the midst of Samaria and Galilee—probably on the confines of both.12. stood afar off—(Compare Le 13:45, 46).13. they lifted up—their common misery drawing these poor outcasts together (2Ki 7:3), nay,making them forget the fierce national antipathy of Jew and Samaritan [Trench].Jesus, &c.—(Compare Mt 20:30-33). How quick a teacher is felt misery, even though as herethe teaching may be soon forgotten!14. show yourselves—as cleansed persons. (See on Mt 8:4.) Thus too would the Samaritan betaught that "salvation is of the Jews" (Joh 4:22).as they went, were cleansed—In how many different ways were our Lord's cures wrought,and this different from all the rest.17, 18. Were there not ten cleansed—rather, were not the ten cleansed? that is, the whole ofthem—an example (by the way) of Christ's omniscience [Bengel].18. this stranger—"this alien" (literally, "of another race"). The language is that of wonderand admiration, as is expressly said of another exhibition of Gentile faith (Mt 8:10).19. Arise—for he had "fallen down on his face at His feet" (Lu 17:16) and there lain prostrate.faith made thee whole—not as the others, merely in body, but in that higher spiritual sensewith which His constant language has so familiarized us.Lu 17:20-37. Coming of the Kingdom of God and of the Son of Man.20-25. when, &c.—To meet the erroneous views not only of the Pharisees, but of the disciplesthemselves, our Lord addresses both, announcing the coming of the kingdom under different aspects.It cometh not with observation—with watching or lying in wait, as for something outwardlyimposing and at once revealing itself.21. Lo here! … lo there!—shut up within this or that sharply defined and visible geographicalor ecclesiastical limit.within you—is of an internal and spiritual character (as contrasted with their outside views ofit). But it has its external side too.22. The days—rather "Days."will come—as in Lu 19:43, when, amidst calamities, &c., you will anxiously look for a deliverer,and deceivers will put themselves forward in this character.one of the days of the Son of man—Himself again among them but for one day; as we saywhen all seems to be going wrong and the one person who could keep them right is removed [Neanderin Stier, &c.]. "This is said to guard against the mistake of supposing that His visible presence wouldaccompany the manifestation and establishment of His kingdom" [Webster and Wilkinson].23. they shall say, See here … go not, &c.—a warning to all so-called expositors of prophecyand their followers, who cry, Lo there and see here, every time that war breaks out or revolutionsoccur.2102JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson24. as lightning … so … the Son of man—that is it will be as manifest. The Lord speaks hereof His coming and manifestation in a prophetically indefinite manner, and in these preparatorywords blends into one the distinctive epochs [Stier]. When the whole polity of the Jews, civil andecclesiastical alike, was broken up at once, and its continuance rendered impossible by the destructionof Jerusalem, it became as manifest to all as the lightning of heaven that the kingdom of God hadceased to exist in its old, and had entered on a new and perfectly different form. So it may be again,ere its final and greatest change at the personal coming of Christ, and of which the words in theirhighest sense are alone true.25. But first … suffer, &c.—This shows that the more immediate reference of Lu 17:23 is toan event soon to follow the death of Christ. It was designed to withdraw the attention of "Hisdisciples" from the glare in which His foregoing words had invested the approaching establishmentof His kingdom.26-30. eat … married … planted—all the ordinary occupations and enjoyments of life. Thoughthe antediluvian world and the cities of the plain were awfully wicked, it is not their wickedness,but their worldliness, their unbelief and indifference to the future, their unpreparedness, that is hereheld up as a warning. Note.—These recorded events of Old Testament history—denied or explainedaway nowadays by not a few—are referred to here as facts.31-33. to take it away … Remember, &c.—a warning against that lingering reluctance topart with present treasures which induces some to remain in a burning house, in hopes of savingthis and that precious article till consumed and buried in its ruins. The cases here supposed, thoughdifferent, are similar.32. Lot's wife—her "look back," for that is all that is said of her, and her recorded doom. Herheart was in Sodom still, and the "look" just said, "And must I bid it adieu?"33. Whosoever, &c.—(See on Lu 9:23-27).34. two in one bed—the prepared and unprepared mingled in closest intercourse together inthe ordinary walks and fellowships of life, when the moment of severance arrives. Awful truth!realized before the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Christians found themselves forced by theirLord's directions (Lu 21:21) at once and for ever away from their old associates; but most of allwhen the second coming of Christ shall burst upon a heedless world.37. Where—shall this occur?Wheresoever, &c.—"As birds of prey scent out the carrion, so wherever is found a mass ofincurable moral and spiritual corruption, there will be seen alighting the ministers of divinejudgment," a proverbial saying terrifically verified at the destruction of Jerusalem, and many timessince, though its most tremendous illustration will be at the world's final day.CHAPTER 18Lu 18:1-8. Parable of the Importunate Widow.1-5. always—Compare Lu 18:7, "night and day."faint—lose heart, or slacken.2. feared not … neither regarded—defying the vengeance of God and despising the opinionof men.widow—weak, desolate, defenseless (1Ti 5:5, which is taken from this).2103JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson3. came—kept coming. See Lu 18:5, "her continual coming."Avenge me—that is, rid me of the oppression of.5. continual coming—coming for ever.6-8. the Lord—a name expressive of the authoritative style in which He interprets His ownparable.7. shall not God—not unjust, but the infinitely righteous Judge.avenge—redeem from oppression.his own elect—not like this widow, the object of indifference and contempt, but dear to Himas the apple of the eye (Zec 2:8).cry day and night—whose every cry enters into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth (Jas 5:4), andhow much more their incessant and persevering cries!bear long with them—rather, "in their case," or "on their account" (as) Jas 5:7, "for it"), [Grotius,De Wette, &c.].8. speedily—as if pained at the long delay, impatient for the destined moment to interpose.(Compare Pr 29:1.)Nevertheless, &c.—that is, Yet ere the Son of man comes to redress the wrongs of His Church,so low will the hope of relief sink, through the length of the delay, that one will be fain to ask, WillHe find any faith of a coming avenger left on the earth? From this we learn: (1) That the primaryand historical reference of this parable is to the Church in its widowed, desolate, oppressed,defenseless condition during the present absence of her Lord in the heavens; (2) That in thesecircumstances importunate, persevering prayer for deliverance is the Church's fitting exercise; (3)That notwithstanding every encouragement to this, so long will the answer be delayed, while theneed of relief continues the same, and all hope of deliverance will have nearly died out, and "faith"of Christ's coming scarcely to be found. But the application of the parable to prayer in general isso obvious as to have nearly hidden its more direct reference, and so precious that one cannot allowit to disappear in any public and historical interpretation.Lu 18:9-14. Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.11, 12. stood—as the Jews in prayer (Mr 11:25).God, &c.—To have been kept from gross iniquities was undoubtedly a just cause of thankfulnessto God; but instead of the devoutly humble, admiring frame which this should inspire, the Phariseearrogantly severs himself from the rest of mankind, as quite above them, and, with a contemptuouslook at the poor publican, thanks God that he has not to stand afar off like him, to hang down hishead like a bulrush and beat his breast like him. But these are only his moral excellencies. Hisreligious merits complete his grounds for congratulation. Not confining himself to the one divinelyprescribed annual fast (Le 16:29), he was not behind the most rigid, who fasted on the second andfifth days of every week [Lightfoot], and gave the tenth not only of what the law laid under tithing,but of "all his gains." Thus, besides doing all his duty, he did works of supererogation; while sinsto confess and spiritual wants to be supplied he seems to have felt none. What a picture of thePharisaic character and religion!13. standing afar off—as unworthy to draw near; but that was the way to get near (Ps 34:18;Isa 57:15).would not lift up—blushing and ashamed to do so (Ezr 9:6).smote, &c.—kept smiting; for anguish (Lu 23:48), and self-reproach (Jer 31:19).2104JFB Commentary Robert Jamiesonbe merciful—"be propitiated," a very unusual word in such a sense, only once else used in theNew Testament, in the sense of "making reconciliation" by sacrifice (Heb 2:17). There may therefore,be some allusion to this here, though not likely.a sinner—literally, "the sinner"; that is, "If ever there was one, I am he."14. rather than the other—The meaning is, "and not the other"; for the Pharisee was notseeking justification, and felt no need of it. This great law of the Kingdom of God is, in the teachingof Christ, inscribed, as in letters of gold, over its entrance gate. And in how many different formsis it repeated (Ps 138:6; 147:6; Lu 1:53). To be self-emptied, or, "poor in spirit," is the fundamentaland indispensable preparation for the reception of the "grace which bringeth salvation": whereverthis exists, the "mourning" for it which precedes "comfort" and the earnest "hungerings and thirstingsafter righteousness" which are rewarded by the "fulness" of it, will, as we see here, be surely found.Such, therefore, and such only, are the justified ones (Job 33:27, 28; Ps 34:18; Isa 57:15).Lu 18:15-17. Little Children Brought to Christ.15. infants—showing that some, at least, of those called in Matthew (Mt 19:13) and Mark (Mr10:13) simply "little" or "young children," were literally "babes."touch them—or, as more fully in Matthew (Mt 19:13), "put His hands on them and pray," orinvoke a "blessing" on them (Mr 10:16), according to venerable custom (Ge 48:14, 15).rebuked them—Repeatedly the disciples thus interposed to save annoyance and interruptionto their Master; but, as the result showed, always against the mind of Christ (Mt 15:23; Lu 18:39,40). Here, it is plain from our Lord's reply, that they thought the intrusion a useless one, as infantswere not capable of receiving anything from Him. His ministrations were for grown people.16. But Jesus—"much displeased," says Mark (Mr 10:14); and invaluable addition.said—"Suffer the little children to come unto Me"—"AND FORBID THEM NOT," is the important additionof Matthew (Mt 19:14) and Mark (Mr 10:14). What words are these from the lips of Christ! Theprice of them is above rubies. But the reason assigned, "For of such is the Kingdom of God," or "ofheaven," as in Mt 19:14, completes the previous information here conveyed; especially as interpretedby what immediately follows: "And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them"(Mr 10:16). It is surely not to be conceived that all our Lord meant was to inform us, that seeinggrown people must become childlike in order to be capable of the Kingdom of God, therefore theyshould not hinder infants from coming to Him, and therefore He took up and blessed the infantsthemselves. Was it not just the grave mistake of the disciples that infants should not be brought toChrist, because only grown people could profit by Him, which "much displeased" our Lord? Andthough He took the irresistible opportunity of lowering their pride of reason, by informing themthat, in order to enter the Kingdom, "instead of the children first becoming like them, they mustthemselves become like the children" [Richter in Stier], this was but by the way; and, returning to thechildren themselves, He took them up in His gracious arms, put His hands upon them and blessedthem, for no conceivable reason but to show that they were thereby made capable, AS INFANTS, ofthe Kingdom of God. And if so, then "Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptizedwhich have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Ac 10:47). But such application of thebaptismal water can have no warrant here, save where the infants have been previously brought toChrist Himself for His benediction, and only as the sign and seal of that benediction.Lu 18:18-30. The Rich Young Ruler and Discourse Thereon.This case presents some remarkable points. (1) The man was of irreproachable moral character;and this amidst all the temptations of youth, for he was a "young man" (Mt 19:22), and wealth, for2105JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson"he was very rich" (Lu 18:23; Mr 10:22). (2) But restless notwithstanding, his heart craves eternallife. (3) Unlike the "rulers," to whose class he belonged (Lu 18:18), he so far believed in Jesus asto be persuaded He could authoritatively direct him on this vital point. (4) So earnest is he that hecomes "running" and even "kneeling before Him," and that when He was gone forth into the war(Mr 10:17)—the high-road, by this time crowded with travellers to the passover; undeterred by thevirulent opposition of the class he belonged to as a "ruler" and by the shame he might be expectedto feel at broaching such a question in the hearing of a crowd and on the open road.19. Why, &c.—Did our Lord mean then to teach that God only ought to be called "good?"Impossible, for that had been to contradict all Scripture teaching, and His own, too (Ps 112:5; Mt25:21; Tit 1:8). Unless therefore we are to ascribe captiousness to our Lord, He could have had butone object—to raise the youth's ideas of Himself, as not to be classed merely with other "goodmasters," and declining to receive this title apart from the "One" who is essentially and only "good."This indeed is but distantly hinted; but unless this is seen in the background of our Lord's words,nothing worthy of Him can be made out of them. (Hence, Socinianism, instead of having any supporthere, is only baffled by it).20. Thou knowest, &c.—Matthew (Mt 19:17) is more complete here: "but if thou wilt enterinto life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which—as if he had said, Point me out oneof them which I have not kept?—"Jesus said, Thou shalt," &c. (Mt 19:17, 18). Our Lord purposelyconfines Himself to the second table, which He would consider easy to keep, enumerating themall—for in Mark (Mr 10:19), "Defraud not" stands for the tenth (else the eighth is twice repeated).In Matthew (Mt 19:19) the sum of this second table of the law is added, "Thou shalt love thyneighbor as thyself," as if to see if he would venture to say he had kept that.21. All these, &c.—"what lack I yet?" adds Matthew (Mt 19:20). Ah! this gives us a glimpseof his heart. Doubtless he was perfectly sincere; but something within whispered to him that hiskeeping of the commandments was too easy a way of getting to heaven. He felt something beyondthis to be necessary; after keeping all the commandments he was at a loss to know what that couldbe; and he came to Jesus just upon that point. "Then," says Mark (Mr 10:21), "Jesus beholding himloved him," or "looked lovingly upon him." His sincerity, frankness, and nearness to the kingdomof God, in themselves most winning qualities, won our Lord's regard even though he turned hisback upon Him—a lesson to those who can see nothing lovable save in the regenerate.22. lackest … one thing—Ah! but that a fundamental, fatal lack.sell, &c.—As riches were his idol, our Lord, who knew if from the first, lays His greatauthoritative grasp at once upon it, saying, "Now give Me up that, and all is right." No generaldirection about the disposal of riches, then, is here given, save that we are to sit loose to them andlay them at the feet of Him who gave them. He who does this with all he has, whether rich or poor,is a true heir of the kingdom of heaven.23-25. was very sorrowful—Matthew (Mt 19:22) more fully, "went away sorrowful"; Markstill more, "was sad" or "sullen" at that saying, and "went away grieved." Sorry he was, very sorry,to part with Christ; but to part with his riches would have cost him a pang more. When Riches orHeaven, on Christ's terms, were the alternative, the result showed to which side the balance inclined.Thus was he shown to lack the one all-comprehensive requirement of the law—the absolutesubjection of the heart to God, and this want vitiated all his other obediences.24. when Jesus saw—Mark says (Mr 3:34), He "looked round about"—as if first followingthe departing youth with His eye—"and saith unto His disciples."2106JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonHow hardly, &c.—with what difficulty. In Mark (Mr 10:24) an explanation is added, "Howhard is it for them that trust in riches," &c.—that is, with what difficulty is this idolatrous trustconquered, without which they cannot enter; and this is introduced by the word "children"—sweetdiminutive of affection and pity (Joh 21:5).25. easier for a camel, &c.—a proverbial expression denoting literally a thing impossible, butfiguratively, very difficult.26, 27. For, &c.—"At that rate none can be saved": "Well, it does pass human power, but notdivine."28-30. Lo, &c.—in the simplicity of his heart (as is evident from the reply), conscious that therequired surrender had been made, and generously taking in his brethren with him—"we"; not inthe spirit of the young ruler. "All these have I kept,"left all—"The workmen's little is as much his "all" as the prince's much" [Bengel]. In Matthew(Mt 19:27) he adds, "What shall we have therefore?" How shall it fare with us?29. There is no man, &c.—graciously acknowledging at once the completeness and theacceptableness of the surrender as a thing already made.house, &c.—The specification is still more minute in Matthew and Mark, (Mt 19:27; Mr 10:29)to take in every form of self-sacrifice.for the kingdom of God's sake—in Mark (Mr 10:29), "for MY sake and the Gospel's." See onLu 6:22.30. manifold more in this present time—in Matthew (Mt 19:29) "an hundredfold," to whichMark (Mr 10:30) gives this most interesting addition, "Now in this present time, houses, andbrethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions." We have here theblessed promise of a reconstruction of all human relationships and affections on a Christian basisand in a Christian state, after being sacrificed, in their natural form, on the altar of love to Christ.This He calls "manifold more"—"an hundredfold more"—than what they sacrificed. Our Lord wasHimself the first to exemplify this new adjustment of His own relationships. (See on Mt 12:49, 50;and 2Co 6:14-18.) But this "with persecutions"; for how could such a transfer take place withoutthe most cruel wrenches to flesh and blood? but the persecution would haply follow them into theirnew and higher circle, breaking that up too! But best of all, "in the world to come life everlasting."AndWhen the shore is won at lastWho will count the billows past?KebleThese promises are for every one who forsakes his all for Christ. But in Matthew (Mt 19:28)this is prefaced by a special promise to the Twelve: "Verily I say unto you, That ye which havefollowed Me in the Regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye alsoshall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Ye who have now adhered to Meshall, in the new kingdom, rule, or give law to, the great Christian world, here set forth in Jewishdress as the twelve tribes, presided over by the twelve apostles on so many judicial thrones. In thissense certainly the promise has been illustriously fulfilled [Calvin, Grotius, Lightfoot, &c.]. But if thepromise refers to the yet future glory (as may be thought from Lu 22:28-30, and as most take it),it points to the highest personal distinction of the first founders of the Christian Church.Lu 18:31-34. Fuller Announcement of His Approaching Death and Resurrection.2107JFB Commentary Robert Jamieson(See on Mr 10:32-34.)31. all written by the prophets concerning the Son of man … be accomplished—showinghow Christ Himself read, and would have us to read, the Old Testament, in which some otherwiseevangelical interpreters find no prophecies, or virtually none, of the sufferings of the Son of man.34. understood none, &c.—The Evangelist seems unable to say strongly enough how entirelyhidden from them at that time was the sense of these exceeding plain statements: no doubt to addweight to their subsequent testimony, which from this very circumstance was prodigious, and withall the simple-hearted irresistible.Lu 18:35-43. Blind Man Healed.In Mt 20:29-34, they are two, as in the case of the Demoniac of Gadara. In Matthew and Mark(Mr 10:46-52) the occurrence is connected with Christ's departure from Jericho; in Luke with Hisapproach to it. Many ways of accounting for these slight divergences of detail have been proposed.Perhaps, if we knew all the facts, we should see no difficulty; but that we have been left so far inthe dark shows that the thing is of no moment any way. One thing is plain, there could have beenno collusion among the authors of these Gospels, else they would have taken care to remove these"spots on the sun."38. son of David, &c.—(See on Mt 12:23).39. rebuked, &c.—(See on Lu 18:15).so much the more—that importunity so commended in the Syrophenician woman, and so oftenenjoined (Lu 11:5-13; 18:1-8).40. commanded, &c.—Mark (Mr 10:49) has this interesting addition: "And they call the blindman, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise, He calleth thee"—just as one earnestly desiringan interview with some exalted person, but told by one official after another that it is vain to wait,as he will not succeed (they know it), yet persists in waiting for some answer to his suit, and atlength the door opens, and a servant appears, saying, "You will be admitted—he has called you."And are there no other suitors to Jesus who sometimes fare thus? "And he, casting away hisgarment"—how lively is this touch, evidently of an eye-witness, expressive of his earnestness andjoy—"came to Jesus" (Mr 10:49, 50).41-43. What wilt thou, &c.—to try them; to deepen their present consciousness of need; andto draw out their faith in Him. Lord "Rabboni" (Mr 10:51); an emphatic and confiding exclamation.(See on Joh 20:16.)CHAPTER 19Lu 19:1-10. Zaccheus the Publican.The name is Jewish.2-4. chief among the publicans—farming a considerable district, with others under him.rich—Ill-gotten riches some of it certainly was. (See on Lu 19:8.)3. who he was—what sort of person. Curiosity then was his only motive, though hisdetermination not to be baulked was overruled for more than he sought.4. sycamore—the Egyptian fig, with leaves like the mulberry.5, 6. looked up,—in the full knowledge of who was in the tree, and preparatory to addressinghim.2108JFB Commentary Robert JamiesonZaccheus—whom he had never seen in the flesh, nor probably heard of. "He calleth His ownsheep by name and leadeth them out" (Joh 10:3).make haste, and come down—to which he literally responded—"he made haste and camedown."for to-day, &c.—Our Lord invites Himself, and in "royal" style, which waits not for invitations,but as the honor is done to the subject, not the sovereign, announces the purpose of royalty topartake of the subject's hospitalities. Manifestly our Lord speaks as knowing how the privilegewould be appreciated.to-day … abide—(Compare Joh 1:39), probably over night.6. joyfully—Whence this so sudden "joy" in the cold bosom of an avaricious publican? Theinternal revolution was as perfect as instantaneous. "He s