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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Matthew 10



Verse 1

1. τοὺς δώδεκα μαθητάς. The first passages in St Mark and St Luke record the choice or calling of the Twelve, this chapter and Mark 6 and Luke 9 narrate the mission or α mission of the disciples. Possibly they were sent forth more than once. The number twelve was doubtless in reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, which, as the type of the Christian Church, survive unbroken and undispersed.

νόσονμαλακίαν. See note ch. Matthew 4:23, and Matthew 9:35.

Verse 2

2. ἀποστόλων, the only passage in this Gospel where the word occurs. The literal meaning, ‘sent forth,’ or ‘envoys,’ though scarcely recognised by classical authors, was not new. It seems to have been a ‘title borne by those who were despatched from the mother city by the rulers of the race on any foreign mission, especially such as were charged with collecting the tribute paid to the temple service’ (Lightfoot, Gal. p. 90). The title of ἀπόστολοι was given in a special sense to the Twelve, but was not confined to them. Matthias was added to the number of the twelve, Paul was ‘called to be an apostle,’ James the Lord’s brother, and Barnabas, are designated by the same title. It had even a wider signification: cp. among other passages Romans 16:7. The name is applied to Jesus Christ, Hebrews 3:1, κατανοήσατε τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν. He came to do the will of Him that sent Him.

There are four lists of the Apostles recorded, one by each of the Synoptic Evangelists, one in the Acts of the Apostles. No two of these lists perfectly coincide. This will be seen from the tabular view below.

Matthew 10:3.

Mark 3:16.

1. Simon Peter.

Simon Peter.

Simon Peter.

2. Andrew.

James the son of Zebedee.


3. James the son of Zebedee.

John the brother of James.


4. John his brother.



5. Philip.



6. Bartholomew.



7. Thomas.



8. Matthew the Publican.



9. James the son of Alphæus.

James son of Alphæus.

James the son of Alphæus.

10. Lebbæus surnamed Thaddæus.


Simon Zelotes.

11. Simon the Cananite.

Simon the Cananite.

Judas (son) of James.

12. Judas Iscariot.

Judas Iscariot.

Judas Iscariot.

It will be observed from a comparison of these lists that the twelve names fall into three divisions, each containing four names which remain in their respective divisions in all the lists. Within these divisions however, the order varies. But Simon Peter is placed first, and Judas Iscariot last, in all. Again, Philip invariably heads the second, and James the son of Alphæus the third division. The classification of the apostolate is the germ of Christian Organisation. It implies diversity of work and dignity suited to differences of intelligence and character. The first group of four are twice named as being alone with Jesus, Mark 1:29; Mark 13:3; Peter and the sons of Zebedee on three occasions, see ch. Matthew 17:1.Acts 1:13.

Andrew, a Greek name; see John 12:21-22, where the Greeks in the temple address themselves to Philip, ‘Philip cometh and telleth Andrew and Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.’ An incident that seems to point to some Greek connection besides the mere name.

Verse 3

3. Philip, also a Greek name prevalent at the time, partly through the influence of the Macedonian monarchy, whose real founder was Philip, father of Alexander the Great; partly owing to its adoption by the Herodian family.

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

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

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

Bartholomew = son of Tolmai, probably to be identified with Nathanael. [1] St John, who twice mentions the name of Nathanael, never mentions that of Bartholomew; [2] the three Synoptists mention Bartholomew but not Nathanael. [3] Philip is closely connected with Nathanael and also with Bartholomew. [4] Lastly, Nathanael is mentioned with six other disciples as if like them he belonged to the Twelve. (John 21:2.)

Verse 4

4. Simon ὁ Καναναῖος, (Aramaic Kanani, Hebr. Kannah, ‘jealous,’ Exodus 20:5), or ζηλωτής, equivalent terms. The fierce party of the Zealots professed a rigid attachment to the Mosaic law; they acknowledged no king save God. Under Judas the Gaulonite they rose in rebellion at the time of the census.

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

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

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

Verse 5

5. εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ἀπέλθητε. For the expression ‘way of the Gentiles,’ cp. ch. Matthew 4:15, ‘the way of the sea.’

This prohibition is not laid on the Seventy (St Luke 10:1-16), they are expressly commissioned to carry tidings of the gospel to cities and places which our Lord Himself proposed to visit.

εἰς πόλιν Σαμαρειτῶν. The Samaritans were foreigners descended from the alien population introduced by the Assyrian king (probably Sargon), 2 Kings 17:24, to supply the place of the exiled Israelites. In Luke 17:18, our Lord calls a Samaritan ‘this stranger,’ i.e. this man of alien or foreign race. The bitterest hostility existed between Jew and Samaritan, which has not died out to this day. The origin of this international ill-feeling is related Ezra 4:2-3. Their religion was a corrupt form of Judaism. For being plagued with lions, the Samaritans summoned a priest to instruct them in the religion of the Jews. Soon, however, they lapsed from a pure worship, and in consequence of their hatred to the Jews, purposely introduced certain innovations. Their rival temple on Mount Gerizim was destroyed by John Hyrcanus about 129 B.C. See Nutt’s Sketch of the Samaritans, p. 19.

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

Samaria was the stepping stone to the Gentile world. After the Ascension the charge to the Apostles was to be witnesses, ἔν τε Ἱερουσαλὴμ καὶ πάσῃ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ Σαμαρείᾳ καὶ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς, Acts 1:8. The Acts of the Apostles contain the history of this successive widening of the gospel.

Verses 5-42


This discourse falls naturally into two divisions; of which the first (Matthew 10:5-15) has reference to the immediate present, the second relates rather to the church of the future. The subdivisions of the first part are: [1] Their mission field, 5, 6. [2] Their words and works, 7, 8. [3] Their equipment, 9, 10. [4] Their approach to cities and houses, 11–15.

Verse 6

6. πρὸς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα. See note ch. Matthew 9:36.

Verse 8

8. λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε. Leprosy is not classed with the other diseases. As especially symbolical of a sin-stricken man, the leper requires cleansing or purification.

Verse 9

9. μὴ κτήσησθε. ‘Do not get, acquire,’ εἰς τὰς ζώνας ὑμῶν ‘for your girdles.’ The disciples must not furnish themselves with the ordinary equipment of an Eastern traveller.

χρυσὸνἄργυρονχαλκόν. Of the three metals named the brass or copper represents the native currency. The coinage of Herod the Great was copper only. But Greek and Roman money was also current. The Roman denarius, a silver coin, is frequently mentioned (ch. Matthew 18:28, Matthew 20:2). The farthing, Matthew 10:29, is the Roman as, the 16th part of a denarius; the Greek drachma of nearly the same value as a denarius, and the stater (ch. Matthew 17:27), were also in circulation.

ζώνας. Literally, girdles or money-belts, cp. ‘Ibit eo quo vis qui zonam perdidit,’ Hor. Ep. II. 2. 40. Sometimes a fold of the tunic held up by the girdle served for a purse, ‘quando | major avaritiæ patuit sinus?’ Juv. Sat. I. 88.

Verse 10

10. δύο χιτῶνας. See ch. Matthew 5:40. In like manner the philosopher Socrates wore one tunic only, went without sandals, and lived on the barest necessaries of life. See Xen. Mem. I. 6. 2, where Antiphon, addressing Socrates, says: ζῇς γοῦν οὕτως, ὡς οὐδʼ ἂν εἶς δοῦλος ὑπὸ δεσπότῃ διαιτώμενος μείνειε, σιτία τε σιτῇ καὶ ποτὰ πίνεις τὰ φαυλότατα καὶ ἱμάτιον ἠμφίεσαι οὐ μόνον φαῦλον ἀλλὰ τὸ αὐτὸ θέρους τε καὶ χειμῶνος, ἀνυπόδητός τε καὶ ἀχίτων διατελεῖς. καὶ μὴν χρήματά γε οὐ λαμβάνεις ἃ καὶ κτωμένους εὐφραίνει καὶ κεκτημένους ἐλευθεριώτερόν τε καὶ ἥδιον ποιεῖ ζῆν. Epiphanius relates that James the Lord’s brother never wore two tunics but only a cloak of fine linen (σινδόνα).

ὑποδήματα, ‘shoes.’ From Mark 6:9 it appears that the apostles were enjoined to wear sandals (σανδάλια). This distinction is dwelt upon in the Talmud. Shoes were of softer leather, and therefore a mark of more luxurious living. Sandals were often made with soles of wood, or rushes, or bark of palm-trees. Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.

ἐργάτης. See on ch. Matthew 9:35-38.

These directions correspond to the Rabbinical rules for approach to the Temple: ‘Let no man enter into the Mount of the Temple, neither with his staff in his hand, nor with his shoes upon his feet, nor with money bound up in his linen, nor with a purse hanging on his back’ (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.). In some sense this connection must have been meant by Christ, and present to the minds of the disciples. It would intensify the thought of the sacredness of their mission, and suggest the thought of a Spiritual Temple.

Verse 12

12. εἰσερχόμενοι εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν. ‘When ye are entering into the house,’ i.e. the house of him who is indicated as ‘worthy.’ The injunction to remain in the same house was, perhaps, partly to avoid feasting from house to house, partly for the sake of secrecy—a necessary precaution in after times. Such ‘worthy’ hosts of the Church afterwards were Lydia at Philippi (‘If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there,’ Acts 16:15), Jason at Thessalonica, Gaius perhaps at Derbe, see Romans 16:23. This kind of general hospitality is still recognised as a duty in the East, where indeed it may be regarded as a necessity.

ἀσπάσασθε. ‘Salute it,’ saying ‘Peace (εἰρήνη) be unto you’ (Shalom l’cha), the usual salutation at this day. This of course explains εἰρήνη in the next verse. The ordinary and conventional salutation acquires a sacred depth of meaning on the lips of Christ, Luke 24:36 and John 14:27.

Verse 14

14. ἐκτινάξατε τὸν κονιορτόν, as St Paul did at Antioch in Pisidia, Acts 13:51. The cities of Israel that rejected the Gospel should be regarded as heathen. The very dust of them was a defilement as the dust of a heathen land. See Lightfoot, ad loc.

Verse 15

15. Comp. ch. Matthew 11:24.

Verse 16

16. ὡς πρόβατα ἐν μέσῳ λύκων] Clemens Rom. (II. 5), who quotes these words, adds to them: ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ λέγει, Ἐὰν οὖν διασπαράξωσιν οἱ λύκοι τὰ ἀρνία; Εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ Πέτρῳ, ΄ὴ φοβείσθωσαν τὰ ἀρνία τοὺς λύκους μετὰ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν αὐτά.

φρόνιμοιἀκέραιοι. The qualities required for the safety of the unarmed traveller. Prudence and simplicity are the defence of the weak. φρόνιμοι = ‘prudent,’ full of precaution, possessing such ‘practical wisdom’ as Paul had when he claimed the rights of Roman citizenship at Philippi. But the wisdom of a serpent is often to escape notice. With this thought the etymology of ὄφις agrees, whether it is the ‘seeing creature’ (οπ- as in ὄπωπα) quick to discern danger, or ‘the creature that hides’ (ὀπή, a hole). Comp. the expression in Romans 16:19, θέλω δὲ ὑμᾶς σοφοὺς εἶναι εἰς τὸ ἀγαθόν, ἀκεραίους δὲ εἰς τὸ κακόν, and note the change from φρόνιμοι of the text to σοφούς, denoting intellectual discernment of the good. The difference in the directions precisely meets the difference of the two occasions. ἀκέραιοι (κεράννυμι) means unmixed, so ‘pure,’ ‘simple,’ ‘sincere,’ not ‘harmless,’ as in A.V. The disciples who were ‘simple’ as doves might hope to share the immunity of doves. Tibullus says (I. 7. 17):

Quid referam ut volitet crebras intacta per urbes Alba Palestino sancta columba Syro.

The epithet alba helps to explain ἀκέραιοι.

Verses 16-42


[1] The Apostolic character, 16. [2] Persecution, 17–25. [3] Consolation—the care of the Father, 26–31. [4] The reward, 32. [5] The Christian choice, 33–39. [6] The hosts of the Church, 40–42.

Verse 17

17. προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Perhaps with a reference to the serpents and the doves, which shun the approach of men; but comp. ch. Matthew 17:22, μέλλει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοσθαι εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων.

συνέδρια. i.e. provincial synagogue-tribunals. See note, ch. Matthew 4:23.

Verse 18

18. ἡγεμόνας. Such as Felix and Festus at Cæsarea, the Praetors or Duumviri at Philippi (Acts 16:20), the Politarchs at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6).

βασιλεῖς. As Herod Agrippa or the Roman Emperor.

Verse 19

19. μὴ μεριμνήσητε πῶς ἢ τί λαλήσητε. Curiously enough this has been quoted as if it justified want of preparation for sermons or addresses to a Christian congregation. The direction points definitely to the Christian ‘apologies,’ of which specimens have come down to us in the Acts (Acts 4:8-12; Acts 5:29-32; Acts 7:1-53; Acts 26:2-29) and in the records of the Early Church.

Verse 20

20. τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν. The Christian ‘apologist’ shall not stand alone. The same Spirit instructs him which inspires the universal Church. St Paul experienced such consolation: ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ οὐδεὶς συμπαρεγένετοὁ δὲ Κύριός μοι παρέστη. 2 Timothy 4:16-17. It is to this work of the Holy Spirit that the word παράκλητος may be especially referred. He is the Advocate in court standing by the martyr’s side. This is the classical force of παράκλητος.

Verse 21

21. ἀδελφὸςἀδελφόνπατὴρ τέκνον. The history of persecutions for religion affords many instances of this. It is true even of civil disputes. Thucydides, describing the horrors of the Corcyrean sedition, says (III. 81, 82), καὶ γὰρ πατὴρ παῖδα ἀπέκτεινεκαὶ τὸ ξυγγενὲς τοῦ ἑταιρικοῦ ἀλλοτριώτερον ἐγένετο.

ἐπαναστήσονται. ἐπανάστασις is defined by the Scholiast on Thuc. III. 39 to be ὅταν τινες τιμώμενοι καὶ μὴ ἀδικούμενοι στασιάσωσι καὶ ἐχθρεύσωσι τοῖς μηδὲν ἀδικήσασι—inexcusable and heartless rebellion.

Verse 22

22. ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος κ.τ.λ. The parallel expression Luke 21:19 is made clear by this verse, ἐν τῇ ὑπομονῇ ὑμῶν κτήσεσθε τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν, ‘by your patience ye shall win for yourselves your souls,’ i.e. win your true life by enduring to the end. Comp. Romans 5:3-5, καυχῶμεθα ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν εἰδότες ὅτι η θλίψις ὑπομονὴν κατεργάζεται ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ δοκιμὴν, ἡ δὲ δοκιμὴ ἐλπίδα ἡ δὲ ἐλπὶς οὐ καταισχύνει.

σωθήσεται. ‘Shall be saved,’ shall win σωτηρία. In classical Greek σωτηρία means, ‘safety,’ ‘welfare,’ i.e. life secure from evil, cp. Luke 1:71; in the Christian sense it is a life of secured happiness, hence ‘salvation’ is the highest sense. So σώζεσθαι = ‘to live securely’ with an additional notion of rescue from surrounding danger, οἱ σωζόμενοι means those who are enjoying this life of blessed security.

Verse 23

23. ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς. Such words indicate that these ‘instructions’ have a far wider range than the immediate mission of the Apostles. They are prophetic, bringing both warning and consolation to all ages of the Church.

ἕως ἂν ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. The passage in Luke 21, which is to a great extent parallel to this, treats of the destruction of Jerusalem; and no one who carefully weighs our Lord’s words can fail to see that in a real sense He came in the destruction of Jerusalem. That event was in truth the judgment of Christ falling on the unrepentant nation. In this sense the Gospel had not been preached to all the cities of Israel before Christ came. But all these words point to a more distant future. The work of Christian missions is going on, and will still continue until Christ comes again to a final judgment.

Verse 24

24. οὐκ ἔστιν μαθητὴς ὑπὲρ τὸν διδάσκαλον. The disciples of Jesus can expect no other treatment than that which befell their Master Christ. The same proverb occurs in a different connection Luke 6:40, where Christ is speaking of the responsibility of the Apostles as teachers; ‘as they are, their disciples shall be.’

Verse 25

25. ἀρκετὸν ἵνα, comp. ‘sufficit ut exorari te sinas.’ Plin. Such use of ut in Latin will illustrate and indeed may have influenced the extended use of ἵνα. in later Greek.

Βεελζεβούλ. Baal Zebub = ‘Lord of flies,’ i.e. ‘averter of flies,’ a serious plague in hot countries. By a slight change of letter the Jews threw contempt on their enemies’ god, calling him Baal Zebel—‘Lord of mire’—and lastly identified him with Satan. The changes from Bethel (‘House of God’) to Bethaven (‘House of naught or evil’), (Hosea 4:15), from Nahash (‘serpent’) to Nehushtan (2 Kings 18:4), and from the name Barcochab (‘Son of a star’), assumed by a false Messiah, to Barcozab (‘Son of a lie’), are instances of the same quaint humour.

Another derivation of Beelzebul makes it equivalent to ‘Lord of the dwelling,’ i.e. of the abode of evil spirits. This meaning would be very appropriate in relation to ‘the master of the house;’ and the form Baalzebul is a nearer approach to the Greek word than Baalzebel.

ἐπεκάλεσαν. ‘Surnamed;’ more than ‘called’ A.V.: cp. ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Θαδδαῖος, Matthew 10:3; ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς Βαρνάβας, Acts 4:36. Probably the enemies of Jesus had actually added the name in derision.

Verse 26

26. οὐδὲν γάρ ἐστιν κεκαλυμμένον κ.τ.λ. Two reasons against fear are implied: [1] If you fear, a day will come which will reveal your disloyalty; [2] Fear not, for one day the unreality of the things that terrify you will be made manifest.

Verse 27

27. ὃ εἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε. Lightfoot (Hor. Heb.) refers this to a custom in the ‘Divinity School’ of the synagogue (see ch. Matthew 4:23), where the master whispered into the ear of the interpreter, who repeated in a loud voice what he had heard.

ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων. Travellers relate that in the village districts of Syria proclamations are frequently made from the housetops at the present day. The announcement of the approaching Sabbath was made by the minister of the Synagogue from the roof of an exceeding high house (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb.) just as the Turkish ‘Muezzin’ proclaims the hour of prayer from the top of the mosque.

Verse 28

28. ἀποκτεννόντων. Among other instances of this Alexandrine form quoted by Sturz (de dial. Mac. et Alex.) are ἁμαρτάννειν (1 Kings 2:25) and ἀναβέννειν (Deuteronomy 1:41). See Crit. Notes, ch. Matthew 10:28.

τὸν δυνάμενονἀπολέσαι. Either [1] God, whose power extends beyond this life. Comp. Clem. Rom. Ep. II. 4, where there is a probable reference to this passage, οὐ δεῖ ἡμᾶς φοβεῖσθαι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μᾶλλον ἀλλὰ τὸν θεόν. Or [2] Satan, into whose power the wicked surrender themselves.

ἐν γεέννῃ. See note, ch. Matthew 5:22.

Verse 29

29. στρουθία, translated ‘sparrows’ (A.V.) means any kind of small bird.

καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν κ.τ.λ. Two deductions may be drawn—[1] That human life is more precious in God’s sight than the life of the lower animals (Matthew 10:31); [2] That kindness to animals is part of God’s law.

Verse 32

32. ὁμολογήσει ἐν ἐμοί. Confess in me: make me the central point and object of his confession.

Verses 34-39

34–39. These verses exhibit beautifully three characteristics of Hebrew poetry, antithesis, climax, refrain. The first four lines μὴ νομίσητεοἱ οἰκιακοὶ αὐτοῦ, which reflect the words of Micah 7:6, indicate the separating influence of Christianity. Note here, as in all great revolutions of thought, the change begins from the young. The separation is against father, mother, mother-in-law. The remaining lines indicate the cause of division. Absolute devotion to Christ implies (or may imply) severance from the nearest and dearest of earthly ties. This is set forth in a climax of three couplets each ending with the refrain οὐκ ἔστιν μου ἄξιος, followed by an antithetic quatrain.

ἦλθον βαλεῖν. The infinitive expressing a purpose is specially characteristic of this Gospel. The idea of aim is not prominent in the construction, as the infinitive might equally well express result.

Verse 35

35. διχάσαι. ἅπαξ λεγ. in N.T. carries on the idea of separation involved in μάχαιρα, for which Luke in parallel passage Luke 12:52 has διαμερισμόν.

Verse 37

37. The connection is this: there will be divisions in families; My disciples must not hesitate to side with Me rather than with father or mother, or son or daughter. The new life changes the old relationships: everything is viewed now in reference to Christ, to whom His followers are related as mother and sisters and brethren.

This absolute self-surrender and subordination of all meaner interests to the higher law and the one great Master find parallels in Greek conceptions. Hector prefers honour and duty to love of Andromache (Il. VI. 441 foll.). The interest of the Antigone turns on the conflict between obedience to the supreme law of conscience and the respect to human law and human relations:

οὐδὲ σθένειν τοσοῦτον ᾠόμην τὰ σὰ

κηρύγμαθʼ ὥστʼ ἄγραπτα κἀσφαλῆ θεῶν

νόμιμα δύνασθαι θνητὸν ὄνθʼ ὑπερδραμεῖν.

Ant. 453.

Thus it is that Christ sets his seal on all that is noblest in the uninspired thought of the world.

Verse 38

38. ὅς οὐ λαμβάνει τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ. A further advance in the devotion and self-abandonment required in the disciples of Jesus. These are deeply interesting and solemn words. The cross is named for the first time by the Saviour. The expression recurs ch. Matthew 16:24, following upon the announcement of the Passion to the disciples. By the Roman custom criminals were compelled to bear the cross to the place of execution. The Galilæans would know too well what was meant by ‘taking the cross.’ Many hundreds had paid that forfeiture for rebellion that had not prospered under Judas the Gaulonite and others. (See Introduction, Chapter IV)

Verse 39

39. ὁ εὑρὼν τὴν ψυχὴν κ.τ.λ. ψυχὴ embraces every form of life from mere vegetative existence to the highest spiritual life of the soul. Sometimes this variety of meaning is found within the limits of a single sentence—‘He that findeth the life of external comfort and pleasure, shall lose the eternal life of spiritual joy; and conversely, he who loseth his earthly life for my sake shall find the truer and more blessed life in heaven.’ Even in a lower sense this is true: ὁπόσοι μὲν μαστεύουσιν ζῆν ἐκ παντὸς τρόπου ἐν τοῖς πολεμικοῖς οὗτοι κακῶς τε καὶ αἰσχρῶς ὡς ἑπὶ τὸ πολὑ ἀποθνήσκουσιν. Xen. Cyr. Exped. III. i. 43.

Verse 40

40. ὁ δεχόμενος. In the sense of receiving as a teacher, and of welcoming as a guest, see Matthew 10:14. Whoever welcomes the Apostles and listens to them, listens to the voice of Jesus Christ and of God the Father Himself, and They ‘will make their abode with him,’ John 14:23.

Verses 40-42


In respect of poetical form, note first the ascending climax ὑμᾶςἐμὲτὸν πέμψαντα ἐμέ. And then the descending climax, προφήτηνδίκαιονἕνα τῶν μικρῶν. The privilege rises to the highest point conceivable; the reward is not only for welcome to a prophet but for the slightest service to the lowliest child of God (see Bp. Jebb, Sacr. Lit., on the whole passage). For a similar rise and fall in a poetical passage see ch. Matthew 20:25-28.

Verse 41

41. εἰς ὄνομα προφήτου. A Hebraism: for the sake of, out of regard to the prophet’s character. In translating the Hebr. l’shem the Hellenistic writers use indifferently εἰς [τὸ] ὄνομα, ἐν [τῷ] ὀνόματι, ἐπὶ [τῷ] ὀνοματι.

μισθὸν προφήτου. Such reward as a prophet or preacher of the gospel hath.

δίκαιον. The righteous are those who fulfil the requirements of the Christian law (comp. ch. Matthew 1:19), true members of the Christian Church—the saints.

Verse 42

42. ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν. The reference may be to the disciples. But there appears to be a gradation, in the lowest step of which are ‘these little ones.’ Possibly some children standing near were then addressed, or, perhaps, some converts less instructed than the Apostles had gathered round. ‘The little ones’ then would mean the young disciples, who are babes in Christ. The lowest in the scale—apostles—prophets—the saints—the young disciples. The simplest act of kindness done to one of Christ’s little ones as such shall have its reward.

ψυχροῦ (ὕδατος). As aqua is understood in Latin ‘Frigida non desit, non deerit calda petenti.’ Mart. XIV. 103.

οὐ μὴ ἀπολέσῃ. οὐ μὴ expresses an emphatic denial. οὐ denies the fact, μὴ the very conception of it; οὐ denies a thing absolutely, μὴ as it presents itself to us. The explanation usually given of an ellipse of δέος ἐστιν fails to satisfy all instances. See Goodwin’s Greek Moods and Tenses, § 89.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Matthew 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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