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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 10

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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The beginnings of the mission to the neglected “lost” sheep of Israel may be found in the Capernaum feast (Matthew 9:10 ). As time went on Jesus felt increasingly the pressure of the problem and the need for extended effort. Matthew’s call was connected with the first stage of the movement, and that disciple was Christ’s agent in bringing together the gathering of publicans and sinners. He is now about to employ all the intimate disciples He has collected about Him and through them to spread the movement all over Galilee. They will be a poor substitute for Himself, yet not wholly useless like the scribes, for they have heard His teaching on the hill and imbibed somewhat of His spirit of love.

Verse 1

Matthew 10:1 . προσκαλεσάμενος : this does not refer to the call to become disciples, but to a call to men already disciples to enter on a special mission. τοὺς δώδεκα , the Twelve . The article implies that a body of intimate disciples, twelve in number, already existed. The evangelist probably had Mark 3:14 in view. He may also reflect in his language the feeling of the apostolic age to which the Twelve were familiar and famous. Hitherto we have made the acquaintance of five of the number (Matthew 4:18-22 , Matthew 9:9 ). Their calls are specially reported to illustrate how the body of twelve grew. ἐξουσίαν , authority, not to preach, as we might have expected, but to heal . The prominence given to healing in this mission may surprise and disappoint, and even tempt to entertain the suspicion that the exalted ideas concerning the Twelve of after years have been read into the narrative. This element is certainly least prominent in Mark. Yet to some extent it must have had a place in the mission. The people in Galilee had all heard of Jesus and His work, and it was no use sending the Twelve unless they could carry with them something of His power. πνευμάτων α ., genitive objective, as in John 17:3 , Romans 9:21 . ὥστε ἐκ … καὶ θεραπεύειν , dependent also on ἐξουσίαν ( cf. 1 Corinthians 9:5 ), ὥστε with infinitive indicating tendency of the power, πᾶσαν νόσον , etc., echo of Matthew 4:23 .

Verses 1-15

Matthew 10:1-15 . The Twelve: their names, mission, and relative instructions (Mark 3:14-19 ; Mark 6:7-13 , Luke 9:1-6 ).

Verse 2

Matthew 10:2 . τῶν δὲ δώδ . ἀποστόλων : etc., the evangelist finds here a convenient place for giving the names of the Twelve, called here for the first and last time ἀπόστολοι , with reference at once to the immediate minor mission (from ἀποστέλ . λειν , vide Matthew 10:5 ) and to the later great one. One half of them are for us mere names, and of one or two even the names are doubtful, utterly obscure, yet, doubtless, in their time and sphere faithful witnesses. They are arranged in pairs, as if following the hint of Mark that they were sent out by two and two , each pair connected with a καὶ (so in Luke, not in Mark). πρῶτος : at the head of the list stands Peter, first not only numerically (Meyer) but in importance, a sure matter of fact, though priestly pretensions based on it are to be disregarded. He is first in all the lists. ὁ λεγ . Πέτρος : a fact already stated (Matthew 4:18 ), here repeated probably because the evangelist had his eye on Mark’s list (Matthew 3:16 ) or possibly to distinguish this Simon from another in the list (No. 11).

Verse 3

Matthew 10:3 . Βαρθολομαῖος , the 6th, one of the doubtful names, commonly identified with Nathanael (John 1:46 ). Ματθαῖος ὁ τελώνης , one of four in the list with epithets: Peter the first , Simon the zealot , Judas the traitor , Matthew the publican ; surely not without reason, except as echoing Matthew 9:9 (Meyer). Matthew stands second in his pair here, before Thomas in Mark and Luke. Position and epithet agree, indicative, Euthy. suggests, of modesty and self-abasement.

Verse 4

Matthew 10:4 . Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος : Luke gives τὸν καλ . Ζηλωτὴν = the zealot, possibly a piece of information based on an independent reliable source, or his interpretation of the Hebrew word קַנְאָנִי . The form Καναναῖος seems to be based on the idea that the word referred to a place. Jerome took it to mean “of Cana,” “de vico Chana Galilaeae”. Ἰούδας ὁ Ἰσκαριώτης : last in all the lists, as Peter is first. The epithet is generally taken as denoting the place to which he belonged: the man of Issachar (Grotius); but most render: the man of Kerioth (in Judah, Joshua 15:25 , Jeremiah 48:41 ); in that case the one non-Galilean disciple. The ending, - ωτης , is Greek; in Mark the Hebrew ending, - ωθ , is given.

Verse 5

Matthew 10:5 . Τούτους τ . δώδ : These, the Twelve , Jesus sent forth, under the injunctions following ( παραγγείλας ). εἰς ὀδὸν ἐθ . μὴ ἀπέλθητε . This prohibition occurs in Matthew only, but there is no reason to doubt its authenticity except indeed that it went without saying. The very prohibition implies a consciousness that one day the Gospel would go the way of the Gentiles, just as Matthew 5:17 implies consciousness that fulfilling, in the speaker’s sense, would involve annulling. ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν , the way towards (Meyer), the genitive being a genitive of motion (Fritzsche, Kühner, § 414, 4), or a way within or of, parallel to πόλιν Σαμαρειτῶν in next clause. εἰς π . Σαμ ., not even in Samaria should they carry on their mission. The prohibition is total. πόλιν does not refer to the chief city (Erasmus, Annot., metropolis ) or to the towns as distinct from the rural parts through which at least they might pass (Grotius). It means any considerable centre of population. The towns and villages are thought of as the natural sphere of work (Matthew 10:11 ). The reason of the double prohibition is not given, but doubtless it lay in the grounds of policy which led Christ to confine His own work to Israel, and also in the crude religious state of the disciples.

Verses 5-15

Matthew 10:5-15 . Instructions to the missioners .

Verse 6

Matthew 10:6 . ἀπολωλότα , “the lost sheep,” an expression consecrated by prophetic use (Jeremiah 50:6 , Swete’s ed., Matthew 27:6 ), the epithet here first introduced, often occurring in Gospels, was used by Jesus not in blame but in pity. “Lost” in His vocabulary meant “neglected” (Matthew 9:36 ), in danger also of course, but not finally and hopelessly given over to perdition, salvable if much needing salvation. The term is ethical in import, and implies that the mission had moral and religious improvement mainly in view, not mere physical benefit through healing agency; teaching rather than miraculous acts.

Verse 7

Matthew 10:7 . πορευόμενοι κηρύσσετε , as ye go, keep preaching; participle and finite verb, both present. Preaching first in the Master’s thoughts, if not in the evangelist’s (Matthew 10:1 ). ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τ . ο .: the theme is, of course, the kingdom longed for by all, constantly on the lips of Jesus. The message is: It has come nigh to you and is here. Very general, but much more, it may be taken for granted, was said. The apprentice apostles could as yet make no intelligent theoretic statement concerning the Kingdom , but they could tell not a little about the King , the Master who sent them, the chief object of interest doubtless for all receptive souls. It was a house mission (not in synagogue) on which they were sent (Matthew 10:12 ). They were to live as guests in selected dwellings, two in one, and two in another, for a time, and their preaching would take the form of familiar conversation on what they had seen and heard Jesus do and say. They would talk by the hour, healing acts would be very occasional, one or two in a village.

Verse 8

Matthew 10:8 . νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε . This clause is wanting in several Codd., including L [58] , so often associated with [59] [60] in good readings. It is, however, too well attested to be omitted. It must either have found a place in the autograph, or it must have crept in as a gloss at a very early period. The evangelist’s aim seems to be to represent Christ as empowering the disciples to do the works He is reported to have done Himself in chaps. 8, 9. That purpose demands the inclusion of raising the dead as the crowning miracle of the group (raising of daughter of Jairus). Yet it is hard to believe that Jesus would give power to the disciples to do, as an ordinary part of their mission, what He Himself did only on one or two exceptional occasions. The alternatives seem to be either an early gloss introduced into the text, or an inaccuracy on the part of the evangelist. Meyer takes the former view, Weiss apparently the latter. We cannot take the phrase in a spiritual sense, the other clauses all pointing to physical miracles. This clause is not in the accounts of Mark and Luke. The seventy on their return (Luke 10:17 ) make no mention of raising the dead.

[58]Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

[59] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[60] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

Verse 9

Matthew 10:9 . μὴ κτήσησθε : Vulgate: nolite possidere. But the prohibition is directed not merely against possessing, but against acquiring ( κέκτημαι , perfect = possess). The question is as to the scope of the prohibition. Does it refer merely to the way, or also to the mission? In one case it will mean: do not anxiously procure extensive provision for your journey (Meyer); in the other it will mean, more comprehensively: do not procure for the way, or during the mission, the things named. In other words, it will be an injunction to begin and carry on the mission without reward. Though the reference seems to be chiefly to the starting point, it must be in reality to their conduct during the mission. There was no need to say: do not obtain gold before starting, for that was practically impossible. There was need to say: do not take gold or silver from those whom you benefit, for it was likely to be offered, and acceptance of gifts would be morally prejudicial. That, therefore, is what Jesus prohibits, true to His habit of insisting on the supreme value of motive. So Jerome (condemnatio avaritiae), Chrys., Hilary, etc. So also Weiss. Holtz. (H.C.), while concurring in this interpretation, thinks the prohibition suits better the conduct of the Christ-merchants in the Didache than the circumstances of the disciples. χρυσὸν , ἄργυρον , χαλκὸν : an anticlimax, not gold, not silver, not even a copper. εἰς τὰς ζώνας , in your girdles, used for this purpose as well as for gathering up the loose mantle, or in purses suspended from the girdle. “It was usual for travellers to carry purses ( φασκώλια ) suspended from their girdles in which they carried the pence” (Euthy.).

Verse 10

Matthew 10:10 . πήραν , a wallet for holding provisions, slung over the shoulder ( Jdt 13:10 , πήραν τῶν βρωμάτων ). δύο χιτῶνας ): not even two under-garments, shirts; one would say very necessary for comfort and cleanliness in a hot climate, and for travellers along dusty roads. In Mark the prohibition seems to be against wearing two at the same time (Matthew 6:8 ); here against carrying a spare one for a change. Possibly we ought not to take these instructions too literally, but in their spirit. ὑποδήματα : this does not mean that they were to go barefooted, but either without a spare pair, or without more substantial covering for the feet (shoes) than the light sandals they usually wore mere soles to keep the feet off the hard road. Lightfoot ( Hor. Heb. ) distinguishes between the two thus: “usus delicatoris fuerunt calcei, durioris atque utilioris sandalia”. He states that there were sandals, whose soles were of wood, and upper part of leather, the two joined by nails, and that they were sometimes made of rushes or the bark of palms. ῥάβδον : not even a staff! That can hardly be meant. Even from the romantic or picturesque point of view the procession of pilgrim missioners would not be complete without a staff each in their hand. If not a necessity, at least, it was no luxury. Mark allows the staff, creating trouble for the harmonists. Grotius suggests: no second staff besides the one in hand! Glassius, quoted by Fritzsche in scorn, suggests a staff shod with iron (scipio) for defence. Ebrard, with approval of Godet, thinks of two different turns given to the Aramaic original בי אם מטה = either “if you take one staff it is enough,” or “if, etc., it is too much”. Really the discrepancy is not worth all this trouble. Practically the two versions come to the same thing: take only a staff, take not even a staff; the latter is a little more hyperbolical than the former. Without even a staff, is the ne plus ultra of austere simplicity and self-denial. Men who carry out the spirit of these precepts will not labour in vain. Their life will preach the kingdom better than their words, which may be feeble and helpless. “Nothing,” says Euthy., “creates admiration so much as a simple, contented life” ( βίος ἄσκευος καὶ ὀλιγαρκής ). ἄξιος … τ . τροφῆς : a maxim universally recognised. A labourer of the type described is not only worthy but sure of his meat; need have no concern about that. This is one of the few sayings of our Lord referred to by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 9:14 ), whose conduct as an apostle well illustrates the spirit of the instructions to the Twelve.

Verses 11-15

Matthew 10:11-15 . ἐξετάσατε ( ἐκ ἐτάζω , from ἐτεός , true; to inquire as to the truth of a matter). A host to be carefully sought out in each place: not to stay with the first who offers. ἄξιος points to personal moral worth, the deciding consideration to be goodness, not wealth (worth so much). The host to be a man generally respected, that no prejudice be created against the mission (ne praedicationis dignitas suscipientis infamiâ deturpetur, Jerome). μείνατε : having once secured a host, abide with him, shift not about seeking better quarters and fare, hurting the feelings of the host, and damaging your character, as self-seeking men.

Verse 12

Matthew 10:12 . τὴν οἰκίαν , the house selected after due inquiry. ἀσπάσασθε , salute it, not as a matter of formal courtesy, but with a serious mind, saying: “peace be with you,” thinking the while of what peace the kingdom can bring.

Verse 13

Matthew 10:13 . ἐὰν μὲν ᾖ ἡ ο . ἀξία : after all pains have been taken, a mistake may be made; therefore the worthiness of the house is spoken of as uncertain ( ᾖ , in an emphatic position, so μὴ ᾖ , in next clause). ἐλθέτω ἡ εἰρήνη … ἐπιστραφήτω . The meaning is: the word of peace will not be spoken in vain; it will bless the speaker if not those addressed. It is always good to wish peace and good for others, however the wish may be received. There is a tacit warning against being provoked by churlish treatment. Matthew 10:14 . ὃς ἐὰν μὴ δέξηται : Christ contemplates an unfavourable result of the mission in the host’s house, or in the town or village generally. The construction of the sentence is anacolouthistic, beginning one way, ending another: rhetorical in effect, and suitable to emotional speech; cf. Luke 21:6 : “these things ye see days will come in which not one stone will be left upon another” ( vide Winer, § 63, on such constructions). ἐξερχόμενοι : when an unreceptive attitude has once been decidedly taken up, there is nothing for it but to go away. Such a crisis severely tests the temper and spirit of promoters of good causes. ἐκτινάξατε τὸν κονιορτὸν : a symbolic act practised by the Pharisees on passing from heathen to Jewish soil, the former being regarded as unclean (Light., Hor. Heb.): Easy to perform, not easy to perform in a right spirit; too apt to be the outcome of irritation, disappointment, and wounded vanity = they did not appreciate me , I abandon them to their fate. Christ meant the act to symbolise the responsibility of the inhabitants for the result = leave the place, feeling that you have done your duty, not in anger but in sadness. The act, if performed, would be a last word of warning ( εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς , Mark and Luke). Grotius and Bleek understand it as meaning: “we have nothing more to do with you”.

Verse 15

Matthew 10:15 . γῇ Σ . καὶ Γ .: Sodom and Gomorrah, a byword for great iniquity and awful doom (Isaiah 1:9 ), γῇ , land for people. ἀνεκτότερον : yet the punishment of these wicked cities, tragic though it was, or the punishment still in store, more endurable than that of city or village which rejects the message of the kingdom. This may seem an exaggeration, the utterance of passion rather than of sober judgment, and a dangerous thing to say to raw disciples and apprentice missionaries. But the principle involved is plain: the greater the privilege rejected the greater the criminality. The utterance reveals the high value Jesus set on the good tidings He commissioned the Twelve to preach.

Verse 16

Matthew 10:16 . ἰδού , something important is going to be said. ἐγὼ , emphatic: Jesus is conscious that connection with Him will be a source not only of power, but of trouble to the Twelve. ἐν μέσῳ : not to wolves ( πρὸς λύκους , Chrys.). They were not sent for that purpose, which would be a mission to destruction, but on an errand of which that would be an incident, ἐν is used here as often, especially in later Greek writers, with a verb of motion to indicate a subsequent chronic state, “the result of a love of conciseness” (Winer, § 50, 4, a). γίνεσθε … περιστεραί . The serpent, the accepted emblem of wisdom (Genesis 3:1 ; Psalms 58:5 ) wary, sharp-sighted (Grotius); the dove of simplicity (Hosea 7:11 , “silly dove,” ἄνους , Sept [61] ). ἀκέραιοι ( α , κεράννυμι ), unmixed with evil, purely good. The ideal resulting from the combination is a prudent simplicity; difficult to realise. The proverb seems to have been current among the Jews. “God says: ‘with me the Israelites are simple as the dove, but against the heathen cunning as the serpent’ ” (Wünsche, Beiträge ).

[61] Septuagint.

Verses 16-39

Matthew 10:16-39 . Prophetic picture of future apostolic tribulations . An interpolation of our evangelist after his manner of grouping logia of kindred import. The greater part of the material is given in other connections in Mark, and especially in Luke. No feeling of delicacy should prevent even the preacher from taking this view, as it destroys all sense of the natural reality of the Galilean mission to suppose that this passage formed part of Christ’s instructions to the Twelve in connection therewith. Reading into the early event the thoughts and experiences of a later time was inevitable, but to get a true picture of the life of Jesus and His disciples, we must keep the two as distinct as possible. There may be a doubt as to Matthew 10:16 . It stands at the beginning of the instructions to the Seventy in Luke (Luke 10:2 ), which, according to Weiss (Matth. Evang., p. 263), are really the instructions to the Twelve in their most original form. But it is hard to believe that Jesus took and expressed so pessimistic a view of the Galilean villagers to whom He was sending the Twelve, as is implied in the phrase, “sheep among wolves,” though He evidently did include occasional un-receptivity among the possible experiences of the mission. He may indeed have said something of the kind with an understood reference to the hostility of Pharisaic religionists, but as it stands unqualified, it seems to bear a colouring imported from a later period.

Verse 17

Matthew 10:17 . τῶν ἀνθρώπων : Weiss, regarding Matthew 10:17 as the beginning of an interpolation, takes τῶν generically = the whole race of men conceived of as on the whole hostile to the truth = κόσμος in the fourth Gospel (Matthew 15:19 ; Matthew 17:14 ). It seems more natural to find in it a reference to the λύκοι of Matthew 10:16 . Beware of the class of men I have in view. So Eras., Elsner, Fritzsche. συνέδρια , the higher tribunals, selected to represent courts of justice of all grades, to denote the serious nature of the danger. συναγωγαῖς . The synagogue is referred to here, not merely as a place of worship, but as a juridical assembly exercising discipline and inflicting penalties (Grotius). Among these was scourging ( μαστιγώσουσιν , vide Acts 22:19 ; Acts 26:11 ; 2 Corinthians 11:24 ).

Verse 18

Matthew 10:18 . ἡγεμόνας , provincial governors, including the three degrees: Propraetors, Proconsuls, and Procurators. From the point of view of the evangelist, who conceives the whole discourse as connected with the Galiean mission confined to Jews, the reference can only be to Roman governors in Palestine . But in Christ’s mind they doubtless had a larger scope, and pointed to judicial tribulations in the larger, Gentile world. εἰς μαρτύριον . The compensation for the incriminated will be that, when they stand on their defence, they will have an opportunity of witnessing for the Master ( ἔνεκεν ἐμοῦ ) and the Cause. Observe the combination καὶ δὲ in first clause of this verse, καὶ before ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας , δὲ after it. It introduces a further particular under a double point of view, with καὶ so far as similar, with δὲ so far as different (Bäumlein, Schulgram. , § 675, also Gr. Partikeln , 188, 9). A more formidable experience.

Verses 19-22

Matthew 10:19-22 . μὴ μεριμνήσητε , etc.: a second counsel against anxiety (Matthew 6:25 ), this time not as to food and raiment, but as to speech at a critical hour. With equal emphasis: trouble not yourselves either as to manner or matter, word or thought ( πῶς ἢ τί ). δοθήσεται : thought, word, tone, gesture everything that tends to impress all will be given at the critical hour ( ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ ). In the former instance anxiety was restricted to the day (Matthew 6:34 ). Full, absolute inspiration promised for the supreme moment. οὐ γὰρ ὑμεῖς , etc.: not you but the divine Spirit the speaker. οὐ , ἀλλὰ , non tam quam, interprets Grotius, followed by Pricaeus, Elsner, Fritzsche, etc. = not so much you as; as if it were an affair of division of labour, so much ours, so much, and more, God’s. It is, however, all God’s and yet all ours. It is a case of immanent action, τὸ λαλοῦν ἐν ὑμῖν , not of a transcendent power coming in upon us to help our infirmity, eking out our imperfect speech. Note the Spirit is called the Spirit τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν , echo of Matthew 6:32 . Some of the greatest, most inspired utterances have been speeches made by men on trial for religious convictions. A good conscience, tranquility of spirit, and a sense of the greatness of the issue involved, make human speech at such times touch the sublime. Theophy, distinguishes the human and the divine in such utterances thus: ours to confess, God’s to make a wise apology ( τὸ μὲν ὁμολογεῖν ἡμέτερον , τὸ δὲ σοφῶς ἀπολογεῖσθαι Θεοῦ ).

Verse 22

Matthew 10:22 . εἰς τέλος , to the end (of the tribulations) described (Matthew 10:21-22 ); to the end, and not merely at the beginning (Theophy., Beza, Fritzsche, Weiss, etc.). No easy thing to do, when such inhumanities and barbarities are going on, all natural and family affections outraged. But it helps to know, as is here indirectly intimated, that there will be an end, that religious animosities will not last for ever. Even persecutors and guillotineers get weary of their savage work. On εἰς τέλος Beza remarks: declarat neque momentaneam neque perpetuam hanc conditionem fore. οὗτος σωθήσεται , he , emphatic, he and no other, shall be saved, in the day of final award (James 1:12 , “shall receive the crown of life”); also, for the word is pregnant, shall be saved from moral shipwreck. How many characters go miserably down through cowardice and lack of moral fibre in the day of trial!

Verse 23

Matthew 10:23 . ὅταν δὲ : the thought takes a new comforting turn, much needed to reconcile disciples to the grim prospect. With courage and loyalty effort for self-preservation is quite compatible. Therefore, when they persecute here flee there. ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ , in this city, pointing to it, this standing for one . φεύγετε , flee, very un-heroic apparently, but the bravest soldier, especially an old campaigner, will avail himself of cover when he can. εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν : the reading of [62] [63] is to be preferred to ἄλλην of the T.R., the idea being: flee not merely to another city numerically distinct, but to a city presumably different in spirit ( vide Matthew 6:24 and Matthew 11:16 ), where you may hope to receive better treatment. Thus the flight, from being a mere measure of self-preservation, is raised to the dignity of a policy of prudence in the interest of the cause. Why throw away life here among a hostile people when you may do good work elsewhere? Αμὴν γὰρ : reason for the advice solemnly given; an important declaration, and a perplexing one for interpreters. οὐ μὴ , have no fear lest, ye will certainly not have finished τελέσητε . In what sense? “gone over” (A.V [64] ) in their evangelising tour, or done the work of evangelising thoroughly? (ad fidei et evangelicae virtutis perfectionem Hilary). The former is the more natural interpretation. And yet the connection of thought seems to demand a mental reference to the quality of the work done. Why tarry at one place as if you were under obligation to convert the whole population to the kingdom? The thing cannot be done. The two views may be combined thus: ye shall not have gone through the towns of Israel evangelising them in even a superficial way, much less in a thorough-going manner. Weiss takes the word τελ . as referring not to mission work but to flight = ye shall not have used all the cities as places of refuge, i.e. , there will always be some place to flee to. This is beneath the dignity of the situation, especially in view of what follows. ἕως ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τ . ἀ . Here again is the peculiar title Son of Man : impersonal, but used presumably as a synonym for “I”. What does it mean in this connection? And what is the coming referred to? The latter question can be best answered at a later stage. It has been suggested that the title Son of Man is here used by Christ in opposition to the title Son of David . The meaning of Matthew 10:23 on that view is this: do not think it necessary to tarry at all hazards in one place. Your work anywhere and everywhere must be very imperfect. Even success will mean failure, for as soon as they have received the tidings of the kingdom they will attach wrong ideas to it, thinking of it as a national kingdom and of me as the “Son of David”. No thorough work can be done till the Son of Man has come, i.e. , till a universal Gospel for humanity has begun to be preached (Lutteroth). This is a fresh suggestion, not to be despised, on so obscure a subject. We are only feeling our way as to the meaning of some of Christ’s sayings. Meantime, all that we can be sure of is that Christ points to some event not far off that will put a period to the apostolic mission.

[62] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[63] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[64] Authorised Version.

Verses 24-25

Matthew 10:24-25 point to another source of consolation companionship with the Master in tribulation. A hard lot, but mine as well as yours; you would not expect to be better off than the Master and Lord.

Verse 25

Matthew 10:25 . ἀρκετὸν , not as in Matthew 6:34 a neuter adjective used as a noun, but a predicate qualifying the clause ἵνα γεν ., etc., as noun to verb ἐστι understood. ἵνα γένηται instead of the infinitive; ὁ δοῦλος instead of τῷ δούλῳ dependent like τῷ μαθητῇ on ἀρκετὸν , by attraction of the nearer word γένηται [ vide Winer, § 66, 5). οἰκοδεσπότην (- τῃ , [65] .) points to a more intimate relation between Jesus and the Twelve, that of a head of a house to a family, implying greater honour for the latter, and suggesting an added motive for patient endurance of the common lot. οἰκοδεσπότης is a late form. Earlier writers said οἰκίας δεσπότης , Lob., Phryn., p. 373. Βεελζεβοὺλ : an opprobrious epithet; exact form of the word and meaning of the name have given more trouble to commentators than it is all worth. Consult Meyer ad loc. Weiss (Meyer) remarks that the name of the Prince of the demons is not yet sufficiently explained. A question of interest is: did the enemies of Jesus call Him Beelzebul (or Beelzebub), or did they merely reproach Him with connection with Beelzebub? Weiss, taking Matthew 10:25 b as an explanatory gloss of the evangelist, based on Matthew 9:3 , Matthew 12:24 , adopts the latter view; De Wette and Meyer the former. The reading of Codex [66] , οἰκοδεσπότῃ , favours the other alternative. The dative requires the verb ἐπεκάλεσαν to be taken in the sense of to cast up to one. Assuming that the evangelist reports words of Jesus instead of giving a comment of his own, they may quite well contain the information that, among the contemptuous epithets applied to Jesus by His enemies, was this name. It may have been a spiteful pun upon the name, master of the house. πόσῳ μᾶλλον implies that still worse names will be applied to the Twelve. Dictis respondet eventus , remarks Grotius, citing in proof the epithets γόητας , impostores, applied to the apostles and Christians by Celsus and Ulpian, and the words of Tacitus: convictos in odio humani generis , and the general use of ἅθεοι as a synonym for Christians. οἰκιακοὺς (again in Matthew 10:36 ), those belonging to a household or family (from οἰκία , whence also the more common οἰκεῖος bearing a similar meaning).

[65] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[66] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

Verses 26-27

Matthew 10:26-27 . μὴ οὖν φοβηθῆτε : “fear not,” and again “fear not” in Matthew 10:28 , and yet again, 31, says Jesus, knowing well what temptation there would be to fear. οὖν connects with Matthew 10:24-25 ; fear not the inevitable for all connected with me, as you are, take it calmly. γάρ supplies a reason for fearlessness arising out of their vocation. It is involved in the apostolic calling that those who exercise it should attract public attention. Therefore, fear not what cannot be avoided if you would be of any use. Fear suits not an apostle any more than a soldier or a sailor, who both take coolly the risks of their calling. κεκαλυμμένον , ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ; κρυπτὸν , γνωσθήσεται : the two pairs of words embody a contrast between Master and disciples as to relative publicity. As movements develop they come more under the public eye. Christ’s teaching and conduct were not wholly covered and hidden. There was enough publicity to ensure ample criticism and hostility. But, relatively, His ministry was obscure compared to that of the apostles in after years to which the address looks forward. Therefore, more not less, tribulation to be looked for. The futures ἀποκαλ . γνωσ . with the relative virtually express intention; cf. Mark 4:22 , where ἵνα occurs; the hidden is hidden in order to be revealed. That is the law of the case to which apostles must reconcile themselves.

Verse 27

Matthew 10:27 . σκοτίᾳ , the darkness of the initial stage; the beginnings of great epoch-making movements always obscure. φωτί , the light of publicity, when causes begin to make a noise in the wide world. εἰς τὸ οὖς : a phrase current among Greeks for confidential communications. For such communications to disciples the Rabbis used the term לָחַשׁ , to whisper. λαληθέν may be understood = what ye hear spoken into the ear. δωμάτων , on the roofs; not a likely platform from our western point of view, but the flat -roofed houses of the East are in view. δῶμα in classics means house; in Sept [67] and N. T., the flat roof of a house; in modern Greek, terrace. Vide Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 121. κηρύξατε , proclaim with loud voice, suitable to your commanding position, wide audience, and great theme.

[67] Septuagint.

Verses 28-31

Matthew 10:28-31 . New antidote to fear drawn from a greater fear, and from the paternal providence of God. φοβήθητε ἀπὸ like the Hebrew יָרֵא מִן , but also one of several ways in which the Greeks connected this verb with its object. τὸ σῶμα : that is all the persecutor as such can injure or destroy He not only cannot injure the soul, but the more he assails the physical side the safer the spiritual. τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψ . καὶ σ . Who is that? God, say most commentators. Not so, I believe. Would Christ present God under this aspect in such close connection with the Father who cares even for the sparrows? What is to be greatly feared is not the final condemnation, but that which leads to it temptation to forsake the cause of God out of regard to self-interest or self-preservation. Shortly the counsel is: fear not the persecutor, but the tempter, not the man who kills you for your fidelity, but the man who wants to buy you off, and the devil whose agent he is.

Verse 29

Matthew 10:29 στρουθία , im. for στρουθός , small birds in general, sparrows in particular. ἀσσαρίου , a brass coin, Latin as , 1/10 of a δραχμή = about 3/4d. The smallness of the price makes it probable that sparrows are meant (Fritzsche). We are apt to wonder that sparrows had a price at all. ἓν … οὐ looks like a. Hebraism, but found also in Greek writers, “cannot be called either a Graecism or a Hebraism; in every case the writer aims at greater emphasis than would be conveyed by οὐδείς , which properly means the same thing, but had become weakened by usage” (Winer, § 26). ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν . Chrys. paraphrases: εἰς παγίδα (Hom. 34), whence Bengel conjectured that the primitive reading was not γῆν but πάγην , the first syllable of a little used word falling out. But Wetstein and Fritzsche have pointed out that ἐπὶ does not suit that reading. The idea is that not a single sparrow dies from any cause on wing or perch, and falls dead to the earth ἄνευ τ . πατρὸς ὑ . Origen ( c. Celsum , i. 9) remarks: “nothing useful among men comes into existence without God” ( ἀθεεί ). Christ expresses a more absolute faith in Providence: “the meanest creature passes not out of existence unobserved of your Father”.

Verse 30

Matthew 10:30 . ὑμῶν , emphatic position: your hairs. τρίχες : of little value all together, can be lost without detriment to life or health. πᾶσαι , all, every one without exception. ἠριθμημέναι , counted. Men count only valuable things, gold pieces, sheep, etc. Note the perfect participle. They have been counted once for all, and their number noted; one hair cannot go amissing unobserved.

Verse 31

Matthew 10:31 . π . σ . διαφέρετε : once more, as in Matthew 6:26 , a comparison between men and birds as to value: ye of more worth than many sparrows; one hair of your head as much worth to God as one sparrow. “It is a litotes to say that there is a great difference between many sparrows and a human being” (Holtz., H.C.). There is really no comparison between them. It was by such simple comparisons that Jesus insinuated His doctrine of the absolute worth of man.

Verses 32-33

Matthew 10:32-33 . Solemn reference to the final Judgment . οὖν points back to Matthew 10:27 , containing injunction to make open proclamation of the truth. πᾶς ὅστις : nominative absolute at the head of the sentence. ἐν ἐμοὶ , ἐν αὐτῷ : observe these phrases after the verb in Matthew 10:32 , compared with the use of the accusative με , αὐτὸν in the following verse: “confess in me,” “deny me,” “confess in him,” “deny him”. Chrysostom’s comment is: we confess by the grace of Christ, we deny destitute of grace. Origen (Cremer, Catenae , i. p. 80) interprets the varying construction as indicating that the profit of the faithful disciple lies in fellowship with Christ and the loss of the unfaithful in the lack of such fellowship. ( ὅρα δὲ , εἰ μὴ τὸ πλεονέκτημα τοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ὁμολογοῦντος , ἤδη ὄντως ἐν χριστῷ δηλοῦται , ἐκ τοῦ , “ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ ” ὁμολογεῖν · τὸ δὲ κακὸν τοῦ ἀρνουμένου , ἐκ τοῦ μὴ συνῆφθαι τῇ ἀρνήσει τὸ “ ἐν ἐμοὶ ,” ἢ τὸ “ ἐν αὐτῷ ”.)

Verse 34

Matthew 10:34 . μὴ νομίσητε , do not imagine, as you are very likely to do ( cf. Matthew 5:17 ). ἦλθον βαλεῖν : the use of the infinitive to express aim is common in Matt., but Christ has here in view result rather than purpose, which are not carefully distinguished in Scripture. For βαλεῖν Luke has δοῦναι , possibly with a feeling that the former word does not suit εἰρήνην . It is used specially with reference to μάχαιραν . The aorist points to a sudden single action. Christ came to bring peace on earth, but not in an immediate magical way; peace at last through war (Weiss, Matt. Evang.). μάχαιραν : Luke substitutes διαμερισμόν . The connecting link may be that the sword divides in two (Hebrews 4:12 ). Grotius says that by the word there should be understood: “non bellum sed dissidium”.

Verses 34-39

Matthew 10:34-39 . The whole foregoing discourse, by its announcements and consolations, implies that dread experiences are in store for the apostles of the faith. To the inexperienced the question might naturally suggest itself, why? Can the new religion not propagate itself quietly and peaceably? Jesus meets the question of the surprised disciple with a decided negative.

Verse 35

Matthew 10:35 . escription of the discord. διχάσαι , to divide in two ( δίχα ), to separate in feeling and interest, here only in N.T.; verifies the truth of Grotius’ comment as to the “sword”. ἄνθρωπον κατὰ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ . In this and the following clauses it is the young that are set against the old . “In all great revolutions of thought the change begins from the young” (Carr, Cambridge Gr. T.). νύμφην , a young wife, here as opposed to πενθερᾶς , a daughter-in-law.

Verse 36

Matthew 10:36 . ἔχθροὶ : the predicate standing first for emphasis; enemies , not friends as one would expect, the members of one’s family ( οἰκιακοὶ , as in Matthew 10:25 ). The passage reproduces freely Micah 7:6 .

Verse 37

Matthew 10:37 . uch a state of matters imposes the necessity of making a very painful choice between relatives and truth. φιλῶν : this verb denotes natural affection as distinct from ἀγαπάω , which points to love of an ethical kind. The distinction corresponds to that between amare and diligere. vide Trench, Synonyms , and Cremer, s. v., ἀγαπάω . μου ἄξιος . The Master is peremptory; absolutely demands preference of His cause to all claims of earthly relations.

Verse 38

Matthew 10:38 . σταυρὸν . There is here no necessary allusion to the death of Jesus Himself by crucifixion, though one possessing such insight into the course of events, as this whole discourse indicates, must have known quite well when He uttered the words what awaited Himself, the worst possible probable if not certain. The reference is to the custom of the condemned person carrying his own cross. Death by crucifixion, though not practised among the Jews, would be familiar to them through Roman custom. Vide Grotius for Greek and Roman phrases, containing figurative allusions to the cross. This sentence and the next will occur again in this Gospel (Matthew 16:24-25 ).

Verse 39

Matthew 10:39 . εὑρὼν … ἀπολέσει , ἀπολέσας … εὑρήσει : crucifixion, death ignominious, as a criminal horrible; but horrible though it be it means salvation. This paradox is one of Christ’s great, deep, yet ever true words. It turns on a double sense of the term ψυχή as denoting now the lower now the higher life. Every wise man understands and acts on the maxim, “dying to live”.

Verse 40

Matthew 10:40 . ἐμὲ δέχεται : first the principle is laid down that to receive the messenger is to receive the Master who sent him (Matthew 25:40 ), as to receive the Master is to receive God.

Verses 40-42

Matthew 10:40-42 . The following sentences might have been spoken in connection with the early Galilean mission, and are accordingly regarded by Weiss as the conclusion of the instructions then given. Luke gives their gist (Matthew 10:16 ) at the close of the instructions to the seventy. After uttering many awful, stern sayings, Jesus takes care to make the last cheering. He promises great rewards to those who receive the missionaries, thereby “opening the houses of the whole world to them,” Chrysos.

Verse 41

Matthew 10:41 . hen in two distinct forms the law is stated that to befriend the representative of Christ and God ensures the reward belonging to that representative. εἰς ὄνομα , having regard to the fact that he is a prophet or righteous man. The prophet is the principal object of thought, naturally, in connection with a mission to preach truth. But Christ knows (Matthew 7:15 ) that there are false prophets as well as true; therefore from vocation He falls back on personal character. Here as everywhere we see how jealously He made the ethical interest supreme. “See,” says Chrys., commenting on Matthew 10:8 , “how He cares for their morals, not less than for the miracles, showing that the miracles without the morals are nought” (Hom. 32). So here He says in effect: let the prophet be of no account unless he be a just, good man. The fundamental matter is character, and the next best thing is sincere respect for it. To the latter Christ promises the reward of the former. ὁ δεχόμενος δίκαιον … μισθὸν δ . λήψετοι : a strong, bold statement made to promote friendly feeling towards the moral heroes of the world in the hearts of ordinary people; not the utterance of a didactic theologian scientifically measuring his words. Yet there is a great principle underlying, essentially the same as that involved in St. Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith. The man who has goodness enough to reverence the ideal of goodness approximately or perfectly realised in another, though not in himself, shall, in the moral order of the world, be counted as a good man.

Verse 42

Matthew 10:42 . he last word, and the most beautiful; spoken with deep pathos as an aside; about the disciples rather than to them, though heard by them. “Whosoever shall do the smallest service, were it but to give a drink to one of these little ones ( ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων , cf. Matthew 25:40 ) in the name of a disciple, I declare solemnly even he shall without fail have his appropriate reward.” ψυχροῦ : expressive word for water, indicating the quality valued by the thirsty; literally a cup of the cool , suggesting by contrast the heat of the sun and the fierce thirst of the weary traveller. No small boon that cup in Palestine! “In this hot and dry land, where one can wander for hours without coming on a brook or an accessible cistern, you say ‘thank you’ for a drink of fresh water with very different feelings than we do at home” (Furrer, Wanderungen durch das Heilige Land , p. 118). Fritzsche remarks on the paucity of particles in Matthew 10:34-42 as indicating the emotional condition of the speaker.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/matthew-10.html. 1897-1910.
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