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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Matthew 12

 

 

Verse 1

1. ἐπορεύθη. St Luke has the less classical ἐγένετο διαπορεύεσθαι.

τοῖς σάββασιν. For the form as if from a sing. σάββας -ατος see Winer 73. τὸ σάββατον and τὰ σάββατα, whether in singular or plural, mean [1] the sabbath, ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ, Luke 6:7. ὄψε δὲ σαββάτων, Matthew 28:1. [2] The week, πρώτη σαββἀτου, Mark 16:9. εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, Matthew 28:1.

ἐπείνασαν. A late form for ἐπείνησαν. So πεινᾶν and πεινᾷ for Attic πεινῆν and πεινῇ.

ἤρξαντο τίλλειν στάχυας. The Pharisees, who seem to have been watching their opportunity, make the objection as soon as the disciples began what by Pharisaic rules was an unlawful act.


Verses 1-13

1–13. THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH


Verse 2

2. ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν ποιεῖν ἐν σαββάτῳ. This prohibition is a Pharisaic rule not found in the Mosaic Law. It was a principle with the Pharisees to extend the provisions of the Law and make minute regulations over and beyond what Moses commanded, in order to avoid the possibility of transgression. To pluck ears of corn was in a sense, the Pharisees said, to reap, and to reap on the Sabbath day was forbidden and punishable by death. These regulations did in fact make void the Law; e.g. the result of this particular prohibition was to contravene the intention or motive of the Sabbath. If sabbatical observances prevented men from satisfying hunger, the Sabbath was no longer a blessing but an injury to man.


Verse 3

3. Ahimelech, the priest at Nob, gave David and his companions five loaves of the shewbread (1 Samuel 21:1-7). ‘It is no improbable conjecture that David came to Nob either on the Sabbath itself, or when the Sabbath was but newly gone.’ Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. ad loc.


Verse 4

4. τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως. Literally, ‘loaves of the setting forth,’ i.e. the bread that was set forth in the sanctuary. It was also called ‘continual bread’ as being set forth perpetually before the Lord, hence the Hebrew name, ‘bread of the presence.’ Twelve loaves or cakes were placed in two ‘piles’ (rather than ‘rows,’ Leviticus 24:6) on the ‘pure table’ every Sabbath. On each pile was put a golden cup of frankincense. See Exodus 25:30; Leviticus 24:6-8; Josephus, Ant. III. 10. 7.

τῆς προθέσεως. This use of the attribute genitive is very frequent in the Hebrew language, which has few adjectives in proportion to the substantives. Adjectives of material are almost entirely wanting (Rödiger’s Gesenius Hebr. Gram. p. 236). The construction however belongs also to Greek syntax, μέλαινα δʼ ἄστρωνεὐφρόνη ‘starry night.’ Soph. El. 19. λευκῆς χιόνος πτέρυγι. Ant. 114. ‘a snowy wing.’ See Donaldson, Grk. Gr. 454.

ἐξὸν ἦν. A late analytic form for ἐξῆν.


Verse 5

5. ἀνέγνωτε. For the aor. see ch. Matthew 5:21 and Matthew 11:27.

βεβηλοῦσιν. By labour in removing the shewbread, preparing fire for the sacrifice, and performing the whole temple service. ‘Not merely does the sacred history relate exceptional instances of necessity, but the Law itself ordains labour on the Sabbath as a duty’ (Stier).

βεβηλοῦσιν. The verb is late. βέβηλος (βάω, βαίνω, βηλός, ‘a threshold’) lit. = ‘allowable for all to tread,’ so common, profane.


Verse 6

6. μεῖζον. The neuter gives the sense of indefinite greatness; cp. Luke 11:32, πλεῖον Σολομῶνος ὧδε, and Eur. Ion, 973, καὶ πῶς τὰ κρείσσω θνητὸς οὖσʼ ὑπερδράμω, where τὰ κρείσσω is equivalent to τὸν θεόν.


Verse 7

7. εἰ δὲ ἐγνώκειτε. This form of the conditional sentence implies that the action of the protasis did not take place. The Pharisees did not recognise the true meaning of the prophet.

Ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν. Quoted a second time, see ch. Matthew 9:13. There is something more binding than the Law, and that is the principle which underlies the Law. The law rightly understood is the expression of God’s love to man. That love allowed the act of David, and the labour of the priests; ‘Shall it not permit my disciples to satisfy their hunger?’

The MSS. vary between ἔλεος and ἔλεον. In the classics ἔλεος is always masc., in Hellenistic Greek generally neuter, similar instances are πλοῦτος neut. 2 Corinthians 8:2; Philippians 4:19 alibi, and ζῆλος neut. Philippians 3:6 (Lachmann and Tischendorf).


Verse 10

10. χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν, i.e. paralysed or affected by atrophy. St Luke has ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιά.

εἰ does not introduce direct questions in Attic Greek. For this later use, compare Latin an and even si. The construction is probably due to an ellipse. Winer, 639.


Verse 11

11. In the other Synoptic Gospels the argument is different. ‘Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life or to kill?’ St Matthew states the argument that bears specially on the Jewish Law. St Luke, however, mentions the application of the same argument by our Lord on a different occasion, ch. Matthew 14:5. Our Lord’s answer is thrown into the form of a syllogism, the minor premiss and conclusion of which are left to be inferred in St Luke loc. cit.


Verse 12

12. διαφέρει. Cp. ch. Matthew 10:31, πολλῶν στρουθίων διαφέρετε ὑμεῖς.


Verse 13

13. ἀπεκατεστάθη. For the double augment see Winer, P. ii., xii. 7.


Verse 14

14. συμβούλιον ἔλαβον κατʼ αὐτοῦ. St Mark adds that the Herodians joined the Pharisees.

ὅπως αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν. This sequence of the subjunctive on the historic tenses is the established usage in Hellenistic Greek. For instances in the Classics see note, ch. Matthew 14:36. The use of the subjunctive gradually displaced the optative mood, which does not exist in Modern Greek. In the N.T. it is somewhat rare. It occurs, [1] in conditional sentences; as, ἀλλʼ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι, 1 Peter 3:14. [2] In the expression of a wish; as, μηδεὶς καρπὸν φάγοι, Mark 11:14, and the formula, μὴ γένοιτο. [3] In indirect questions; as, ἤρξαντο συζητεῖντὸ τίς ἄρα εἴη ἐξ αὐτῶν, Luke 22:23. [4] In a temporal sentence; once only, in oratio obliqua, Acts 25:16. [5] With ἄν, ‘when subjective possibility is connected with a condition’ (Winer), as Acts 17:18. [6] In strictly final sentences it does not occur; on the apparent instances, (α) Mark 9:30; Mark 14:10, where there are strong reasons for regarding γνοῖ and παραδοῖ as subjunctive forms; and (β) Ephesians 1:17, where the sentence introduced by ἵνα expresses the object of the prayer or wish; see Winer. p. 360, note 2, and p. 363.


Verses 14-21

14–21. THE PHARISEES PLOT AGAINST JESUS, WHO RETIRES

Mark 3:6-12; Luke 6:11-12


Verse 15

15. ἀνεχώρησεν ἐκεῖθεν. See ch. Matthew 10:23. Jesus follows the principle which He laid down for his disciples’ guidance.


Verse 17

17. τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἡσαΐου., Isaiah 42:1-4. The quotation follows the Hebr. with slight variation. After ἕως ἂν ἐκβάλῃκρίσιν a clause follows, expanding the thought of those words: ‘His force shall not be abated nor broken. Until he hath firmly seated judgment in the earth’ (Lowth’s trans.). In the LXX., Ἰακὼβ and Ἰσραὴλ are inserted as subjects in the first clauses, and there are many verbal discrepancies.


Verse 18

18. ὁ παῖς μου. ‘My servant.’ In Isaiah’s prophecy, either [1] ‘the chosen one,’ whom Jehovah raised ‘from the north’ (Isaiah 41:25) to do his will, and bring about His people’s deliverance from the Babylonish Captivity, or [2] the nation of Israel the worker out of Jehovah’s purposes, in either case in an ultimate sense the Messiah.

κρίσιν. The Hebrew word (mishpat) is used in a wider sense than κρίσις denoting ‘rule,’ ‘plan,’ ‘ordinance,’ &c. Adhering, however, to the strict force of the Greek, we may regard κρίσις as the ‘divine sentence or decree,’ so the ‘purpose’ of God in the Gospel.

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. Possibly our Lord in His retirement addressed Himself more especially to the Gentiles—the Greeks, Phœnicians, and others, settled near the lake. ‘They about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, … came unto Him,’ Mark 3:8.


Verse 19

19. ἐρίσει. Here, only in N.T., it may be noted that in this citation there are three ἅπαξ λεγόμενα in N.T. αἱρετίζεινἐρίζειντύφομαι, none of which occur in the LXX. version of the prophecy; the fut. κατεάξει is extremely rare, and the construction of ἐλπίζειν is found here only in N.T. The divergence from the LXX. points to an independent version, and the divergence from St Matthew’s vocabulary points to some translator other than the Evangelist.

ἀκούσει. Late for middle form ἀκούσεται.

ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις. ‘In the open spaces’ of the city. Jesus had retired to the desert.


Verse 19-20

19, 20. These verses describe the gentleness and forbearance of Christ. He makes no resistance or loud proclamation like an earthly prince. The bruised reed and the feebly-burning wick may be referred to the failing lives which Jesus restores and the sparks of faith which He revives.


Verse 20

20. ἕως ἂν ἐκβάλῃ εἰς νῖκος τὴν κρίσιν, i.e. ‘until he makes his judgment triumph—until he brings it to victory.’ ἐκβάλλειν denotes the impulse of enthusiasm. See ch. Matthew 9:38.

For εἰς νῖκος the lit. rendering of the Hebr. is ‘to truth.’ Maldonatus suggests as an explanation of the discrepancy, a corruption in the Chaldæan text. But, on the other hand, εἰς νῖκος expresses the general sense of the omitted words.


Verse 21

21. τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ. The LXX. reading, ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι, nearly agrees with this. The Hebrew text has ‘for his law.’ It is hardly probable that the mistake should have arisen, as Maldonatus suggests, from the similarity of νόμῳ and ὀνόματι.


Verse 22-23

22, 23. CURE OF A MAN WHO WAS BLIND AND DUMB

Luke 11:14-16

St Luke omits to mention that the man was blind as well as dumb.


Verse 23

23. μήτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς Δαυείς; This form of interrogation implies a negative answer. Those who can scarcely hope for an affirmative reply, naturally give a negative cast to their question. ‘Can this possibly (τι) be the son of David?’ But the question itself implies a hope. See Winer, p. 641, note 3, and p. 642; Jelf, § 873. 4, and Goodwin, Moods and Tenses, p. 84.


Verse 24

24. Βεελζεβούλ. See ch. Matthew 10:25.


Verses 24-30

24–30. THE CHARGE, ‘HE CASTETH OUT DEVILS BY BEELZEBUB.’ THE ANSWER OF JESUS

Mark 3:22-27; Luke 11:15


Verse 25

25. πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα κ.τ.λ. Not that civil disputes destroy a nation, but a nation disunited, rent by factions, in the presence of a common enemy must fall. Here Satan’s kingdom is regarded as warring against the kingdom of God.

Observe the gradation of βασιλείαπόλιςοἰκίαΣατανᾶς; it is a climax; the smaller the community the more fatal the division. Division in an individual is a contradiction in terms.


Verse 27

27. οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν; The children are the disciples of the Pharisees, who either really possessed the power of casting out evil spirits, or pretended to have that power. In either case the argument of Jesus was unanswerable.


Verse 28

28. ἐν πνεύματι θεοῦ. ἐν δακτύλῳ θεοῦ (Luke).

ἔφθασεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς. ‘Came upon you,’ surprised you; aorist of immediate past. φθάνειν, from its classical force of ‘anticipating,’ or ‘coming before others,’ passes to that of simply coming and arriving at a place. This was indeed probably the original meaning of the word (Geldart, Mod. Greek, p. 206). It is also the modern meaning; προφθάνειν being used in the sense of ‘to anticipate.’ But in such a phrase as ἔφθασα τὸ ἀτμόπλοιον, ‘I caught the steamer,’ a trace of the prevailing classical use is discerned. Both senses are found in N.T. For the first, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας, for the second, Romans 9:31, Ἰσραὴλ δὲ διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης εἰς νόμον οὐκ ἔφθασεν. In 2 Corinthians 10:14, φθάνειν is synonymous with ἐφικνεῖσθαι.


Verse 29

29. Not only is Satan not an ally, but he is an enemy and a vanquished enemy.

τὰ σκεύη. Including τὴν πανοπλίαν ἐφʼ ᾗ ἐπεποίθει, as well as the τὰ ὑπάρχοντα of St Luke—his goods and furniture, his armour and equipment generally. Cp. Isaiah 53:12, τῶν ἰσχυρῶν μεριεῖ σκῦλα (LXX).


Verse 30

30. ὁ μὴ ὢν μετʼ ἐμοῦ κατʼ ἐμοῦ ἐστίν] The thought of the contest between Christ and Satan is continued. Satan is not divided against himself, neither can Christ be. Neutrality is impossible in the Christian life. It must be for Christ or against Christ. The metaphor of gathering and scattering may be from collecting and scattering a flock of sheep, as καὶ ὁ λύκος ἁρπάζει αὐτὰ καὶ σκορπίζει τὰ πρόβατα (John 10:12), or from gathering and squandering wealth, money, &c., the resources given by God to his stewards to spend for him: cp. Luke 16:1, διεβλήθη αὐτῷ ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ.

σκορπίζειν, an Ionic word for the Attic σκεδάννυμι. It is found in Lucian, Strabo and other late writers (Lob. Phryn. 218).


Verse 31

31. διὰ τοῦτο. The conclusion of the whole is—you are on Satan’s side, and knowingly on Satan’s side, in this decisive struggle between the two kingdoms, and this is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost—an unpardonable sin.

This answer is thrown into a poetical form, often observable in the more solemn, or (in human language) the more studied utterances of Christ. Two couplets are followed by a fifth line (οὔτε ἐν τούτῳμέλλοντι) which affects each one of the preceding lines.

This charge was not brought forward for the first time. For a while it may have been passed over in silence. When the season for utterance came the manner as well as the meaning of the words would fix themselves for ever in the memory of the listeners.


Verses 31-37

31–37. BLASPHEMING AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST


Verse 32

32. ὃς δʼ ἂν εἴπῃ κατὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου. To speak against the Holy Ghost is to speak against the clear voice of conscience, to call good evil and light darkness, to pursue goodness as such with malignity and hatred. Such sin, or sinful state, cannot be forgiven since from its very nature it excludes the idea of repentance. Jesus, who saw the heart, knew that the Pharisees were insincere in the charge which they brought against Him. They were attributing to Satan what they knew to be the work of God. Their former attacks against the Son of man had excuse; for instance, they might have differed conscientiously on the question of sabbath observance, now they have no excuse.


Verse 33

33. ἢ ποιήσατε τὸ δένδρον καλόν κ.τ.λ. The meaning and connection are; ‘Be honest for once; represent the tree as good, and its fruit as good, or the tree as evil and its fruit as evil; either say that I am evil and that my works are evil, or, if you admit that my works are good, admit that I am good also and not in league with Beelzebub.’


Verse 34

34. γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν. Cp. ch. Matthew 3:7. Here the argument is turned round against the Pharisees: ‘your words and works are evil, and spring from an evil source.’

The burst of indignation after an argument calmly stated resembles the turn in St Stephen’s speech (Acts 7:51) σκληροτράχηλοι, καὶ ἀπερίτμητοι κ.τ.λ.

πῶς δύνασθε ἀγαθὰ λαλεῖν κ.τ.λ. Closely connected with the preceding thought, but further illustrated by two figures—the overflow as of a cistern, and the abundance of a treasury.

περίσσευμα. Cp. περισσεύματα κλασαάτων. Mark 8:8. Here words are regarded as the overflow of the heart.


Verse 35

35. ἐκβάλλει expresses vigorous and enthusiastic teaching and influence.

θησαυροῦ. Treasury or storehouse. Cp. ch. Matthew 2:11.


Verse 36

36. ἀργόν, without result (α and ἔργον, cp. the frequent rhetorical contrast between λόγος and ἔργον, also between ῥῆμα and ἔργον, as Soph. O. C. 873; Thuc. 12:111), so ‘useless,’ ‘ineffective,’ and by litotes ‘harmful,’ ‘pernicious.’ Cp. τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους. Ephesians 5:11. Words must be not only not evil, but they must be actively good. The same principle rules the decision at the final judgment (ch. Matthew 25:45).

ἀποδώσουσιν λόγονἐκ γὰρ τῶν λόγων σουἐκ τῶν λόγων σου. Note the repeated λόγονλόγωνλόγων. The English Version by translating ῥῆμα, ‘word,’ and ἐκ τῶν λόγων σου, ‘from thy words,’ regards ῥῆμα as synonymous with λόγος, and translates as if ἐκ τῶν ῥημάτων were read. But a different explanation may suggest itself if the passage be read thus: ‘every idle ῥῆμα that men shall speak, they shall render a λόγος thereof in the day of judgment; for from thy own λόγοι thou shalt be acquitted and by thy own λόγοι thou shalt be condemned.’ The sound and rhythm of the sentence almost compel the reader to refer the same meaning to λόγον and λόγων and to distinguish between ῥῆμα and λόγων. λόγος is the ‘reasoned word,’ the defence put forth by the individual in the day of judgment for this special thing—‘the idle expression;’ the plural λόγοι denotes the various points in the defence. In this view γὰρ introduces the reason for ἀποδώσουσιν λόγον. Acquittal or condemnation shall be the result (ἐκ) of each man’s defence, ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου κρινῶ σε πονηρὲ δοῦλε, Luke 19:22. Cp. too the description of the actual scene of judgment, Matthew 25:34-45. For the change from the generic ἄνθρωποι to the specializing 2nd person sing. in Matthew 12:37 see ch. Matthew 7:7-8.

The above interpretation harmonises better with facts, for ἔργα as well as ῥήματα will come into account on the last day.


Verse 38

38. θέλομεν ἀπὸ σοῦ σημεῖον ἰδεῖν. This is the second expedient taken by the Pharisees after their resolution to destroy Jesus.


Verses 38-42

38–42. THE PHARISEES ASK FOR A SIGN

St Luke 11:16; Luke 11:29-32. St Luke omits, or at least does not state explicitly, the special application of the sign given in Matthew 12:40, to understand which required a knowledge of the Jewish prophets which would be lacking to St Luke’s readers.


Verse 39

39. μοιχαλίς, estranged from God; a figure often used by the Prophets to express the defection of Israel from Jehovah. Cp. ch. Matthew 16:4 and Isaiah 1:21, πῶς ἐγένετο πόρνη πόλις πιστὴ Σιὼν πλήρης κρίσεως; and Isaiah 57:3.


Verse 40

40. Jonah is a sign [1] as affording a type of the Resurrection, [2] as a preacher of righteousness to a people who needed repentance as this generation needs it.

ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους. The A.V. introduces a needless difficulty by translating κήτους, ‘whale.’ κῆτος (probably from a root meaning ‘cleft,’ so ‘hollow,’ &c., perhaps connected with squatus, ‘a shark’) means a ‘sea monster:’ δελφῖνάς τε κύνας τε καὶ εἴποτε μεῖζον ἕληται κῆτος. Od. XII. 97.

The O.T. rendering is more accurate, ‘the fish’s belly’ (Jonah 2:1), ‘a great fish,’ (Jonah 1:17). It is scarcely needful to note that there are no whales in the Mediterranean.


Verse 41

41. ἀναστήσονται κ.τ.λ., ‘Shall stand up in the judgment, (i.e. in the day of judgment) beside.’ When on the day of judgment the Ninevites stand side by side with the men of that generation, they will by their penitence condemn the impenitent Jews.

εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα. Cp. εἰς διαταγὰς ἀγγέλων, Acts 7:53. In both instances εἰς appears to be equivalent to ἐν. The two prepositions were originally identical in form and meaning -ενς. In proof of this cp. ἄμειψεν ἐν κοιλόπεδον νάπος θεοῦ. Pind. Pyth. Matthew 12:37. In later Greek the two forms are interchanged: ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός, John 1:18. ἵνʼ αὐτὸ λούσῃ εἰς σκάφην, Epict. III. 22, 71. On the other hand, ἐν for εἰς, as ἐπιστρέψαι ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων, Luke 1:17. ἀπελθεῖν ἐν βαλανείῳ, Epict. I. 11, 32. See Donaldson’s Greek Grammar, p. 510. Clyde’s Greek Syntax, § 83, obs. 4.


Verse 42

42. βασίλισσα νότου. ‘The Queen of the South.’ So correctly and not a queen of the South as some translate. The absence of the definite article in the original is due to the influence of the Hebrew idiom. For an account of the queen of Sheba or Southern Arabia, see 1 Kings 10:1.

βασίλισσα. This form is found in all the late authors for the classical βασίλεια. See Lob. Phryn. 96.


Verse 43

43. δέ, ‘but,’ introducing the explanation of the facts stated. The connection is obscured in A.V. by the omission of the particle.

ἀνύδρων τόπων. The waterless desert uninhabited by man was regarded by the Jews as the especial abode of evil spirits.


Verses 43-45

43–45. A FIGURE TO ILLUSTRATE THE SURPASSING WICKEDNESS OF THE DAY

Luke 11:24-26, where the connection is different. St Luke, as usual, omits the direct application to Israel.

This short parable explains the supreme wickedness of the present generation. And herein lies the connection. The Jews of former times were like a man possessed by a single demon, the Jews of the day are like a man possessed by many demons. And this is in accordance with a moral law. If the expulsion of sin be not followed by real amendment of life, and perseverance in righteousness, a more awful condition of sinfulness will result. See note Matthew 12:45.


Verse 44

44. σχολάζοντα. Properly ‘at leisure.’ There must be no leisure in the Christian life; to have cast out a sin does not make a man safe from sin. Christians are οἱ σωζόμενοι not οἱ σεσωσμένοι.


Verse 45

45. οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ. Israel had cast forth the demon of idolatry—the sin of its earlier history, but worse demons had entered in—the more insidious and dangerous sins of hypocrisy and hardness of heart.


Verses 46-50

46–50. JESUS IS SOUGHT BY HIS MOTHER AND BRETHREN. THE TRUE MOTHER AND BRETHREN OF JESUS

Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21

The account is given with very slight variation by the three Synoptists. But see Mark 3:21; Mark 3:30-31, where a motive is suggested—‘When his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself’ (Matthew 12:21). It would seem that the Pharisees, on the pretext that Jesus had a demon, had persuaded His friends to secure Him. This was another device to destroy Jesus, see Matthew 12:14; Matthew 12:38.


Verse 47

47. οἱ ἀδελφοί σου. It is a point of controversy whether these were [1] the own brothers of Jesus, sons of Joseph and Mary, or [2] sons of Joseph by a former marriage, or [3] cousins, sons of a sister of Mary.

The names of the ‘brethren’ are given ch. Matthew 13:55, where see note.

It may be observed in regard to this question that the nearer the relationship of the ἀδελφοὶ to Jesus is held to be, the more gracious are the words of Christ, and the nearer the spiritual kinship which is compared to the human brotherhood.


Verse 49

49. ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου. The new life subverts the old relationships. By the spiritual birth new ties of kindred are established.


Verse 50

50. ὅστις γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ κ.τ.λ. ‘These which hear the word of God and do it’ (Luke 8:21).

τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς. The addition is important. ‘Not those who do the will of my earthly father, but those who do the will of my heavenly Father are brethren.’ The essence of sonship is obedience, and obedience to God constitutes brotherhood to Jesus who came to do τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντος. John 6:38.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Matthew 12:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/matthew-12.html. 1896.

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