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Bible Commentaries

Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 6

Verse 1

Matthew 6:1 . Προσέχετε , take ye heed ) The hortatory address, [241] ΠΡΟΣΈΧΕ ΣΕΑΥΤῼ , take heed to thyself was familiar to the early Christians; since the Hebrew השמר [242] (which occurs so frequently in Deuteronomy), was thus rendered by the LXX. ΤῊΝ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ [243] , ὑμῶν , your righteousness ) This depends upon μὴ ποιεῖν , not to do . [244] δικαιοσύνην , righteousness ) The treatment of the subsequent divisions relating to almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, exhibits such an exact analogy that from a comparison of them it becomes evident, that the warning contained in this verse does not apply solely and exclusively to the first division, but has the force of a general proposition. The design of the whole discourse is to teach true righteousness; (see ch. Matthew 5:6 ; Matthew 5:10 ; Matthew 5:20 , and Mat 6:33 ); and this reading accords with that design. Others read ἐλεημοσύνην , [245] almsgiving . [246] Righteousness is the whole (cf. Gnomon on ch. Mat 5:6 ), three divisions of which follow immediately; viz., almsgiving , as being our especial duty towards our neighbour prayer , as occupying the same position with regard to God fasting , as holding the same place with reference to ourselves . These three relations, to God, to ourselves, and to our neighbour, are frequently enumerated in Holy Writ; see Romans 2:21 Romans 7:12 Romans 14:17 ; 1Co 6:11 to 1 Corinthians 13:5 ; 1 Corinthians 13:6 ; 1 Corinthians 13:13 ; Ephesians 5:9 ; 1 Timothy 1:13 ; Tit 1:8 to Titus 2:12 ; Hebrews 12:12-58.12.13 . θεαθῆναι , to be seen as a spectacle ) Theatre and hypocrite [247] (spoken of in the next verse) are words of cognate meaning.

[241] Celeusma, from the Greek κέλευσμα properly an exhortation to any work; especially of sailors: Either the cry of sailors for encouraging one another, or a beating of time to the rowers. See RIDDLE. (I. B.)

[242] E. V. Take heed, etc. See Deuteronomy 12:13 , etc. (I. B.)

[243] E. M. τὴν ἐλεημοσύνην . (I. B.)

[244] i.e. τὴν δικαιοσύνην is the accusative after μὴ ποιέιν so that the passage must be rendered “ Take heed that ye do not your righteousness,” etc . (I. B.)

[245] See f. n. 7 to last page. (I. B.)

[246] BD abc Vulg. Hilary read δικαιοσύνην . But Z supports ἐλεημοσύνην , the reading of the Rec. Text. ED.

[247] The word originally signifies one who answers , thence, one who takes part in a dramatic dialogue , thence, one who assumes a feigned character . (I. B.)

Verse 2

Matthew 6:2 . Μὴ σαλπίσης ἔμπροσθέν σου , do not sound a trumpet before thee ) This affected and insolent ostentation of actually sounding a trumpet is not inconsistent with the practices of hypocrites among the Jews of that age: cf. Matthew 6:5 ; Matthew 6:16 . The poor would be easily summoned by a trumpet: hypocrisy, therefore, employs it as a means of display. οἱ ὑποκριταὶ , the hypocrites ) Hypocrisy is the combination of actual vice with apparent virtue, by means of which a man deceives either himself or others. ἀμήν , assuredly ) our Lord [by virtue of His essential and proper divinity] knows the secrets of the Divine counsels. ἀπέχουσι τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν , they have their reward [248] ) An example of metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent, i.e. they will not receive any reward hereafter at the hands of their Heavenly Father; see Matthew 6:1 .

[248] Which consists in the praise of men. B. G. V.

Verse 3

Matthew 6:3 . Μὴ γνώτωἀριστερὰ , κ . τ . λ ., let not thy left hand know , etc.) So far from holding a trumpet, let it not even know what thy right hand doeth. Do not thou even consider over again the good that thou doest.

Verse 4

Matthew 6:4 . Ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ , in secret ) The godly shine, but shine in secret. ὁ Πατήρ σου , thy Father ) John Despagne observes, that to employ the possessive pronoun of the first person singular, and say, “MY Father ,” is the exclusive privilege of the Only Begotten; but “THY Father ” is said to the faithful also; FATHER, or OUR Father,” by the faithful; see John 20:17 . ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ , in secret ) He is Himself in secret, and performs His works in secret, and approves most those things which are done in secret. The whole essential being of things, [249] has its existence in secret. ἀποδώσει , shall reward ) This word, without the addition of Αὐτὸς ( Himself ), expresses a reward awarded by God and not man. This reward is sure: see Matthew 6:1 . The Αὐτὸς ( Himself ), appears to have been inserted here, and the ἐν τῷ φανερῲ ( openly ) in Matthew 6:4 ; Matthew 6:6 ; Matthew 6:18 , from a fear that the words might have otherwise been rendered, “Thy Father, who seeth that, shall reward thee in secret.” [250]

[249] In the original, “Pii lucent sed latent.” (I. B.)

[250] Rec. Text has αὐτὸς with D. But BLZ abc Vulg. Memph. Versions, and Cyprian omit it. So also ἐν τῷ φανερῷ added in Rec. Text with abc , is omitted in BDZ Vulg. Memph. Versions. ED.

Verse 5

Matthew 6:5 . Φιλοῦσιν , κ . τ . λ ., they love , etc.) and, therefore, make a practice of doing so. ἐν ταῖς γωνίαις , in the corners ) sc. where the streets meet. ἑστῶτες , standing ) in order that they may be the more conspicuous.

Verse 6

Matthew 6:6 . Ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ , in secret ) God both is , and sees , in secret.

Verse 7

Matthew 6:7 . Μὴ βαττολογήσητε , use not vain repetitions ) Gattaker has collected from antiquity many persons called Battus, celebrated for their stammering, and thence for their frequent repetition of the same word (tautologia), and deriving their name from that circumstance. Hesychius [251] renders βαττολογία by ἀργολογία ( idle talking ), ἀκαιρολογία ( unseasonable talking ): he says, βατταρίζειν appears to me to be derived from an imitation of the voice,” etc., and he explains βατταρισμὸι by φλυαρίαι . [252] It is clear, therefore, that βαττολογεῖν means the same here which πολυλογία ( much speaking ) does immediately afterwards, sc. when the same things are repeated over and over again, as is the case with stammerers, who endeavour to correct their first utterance by a second. ὥσπερ οἱ ἐθνικοὶ , as the heathen do ) In all things the practice of hypocrites is to be avoided, in prayer that also of the heathen. ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν , in their much speaking) i.e. whilst they say many words. They think that many words are required to inform their deities what they want of them, so that they may hear and grant their requests, if not at the present, at some future time. Cf. on the other hand, “ your Father KNOWETH,” etc., Matthew 6:8 . The same word, πολυλογία ( much speaking ) occurs in the S. V. of Proverbs 10:19 . Ammonius [253] says, μακρολόγος is one who utters many words concerning few things , πολυλόγος , one who utters many words concerning many things . Christ commands us to utter few words , even when praying for many things ; see Matthew 6:9-40.6.13 . εἰσακουσθήσονται , shall be regarded . The Hebrew ענה , to answer , is rendered by the LXX. ΕἸΣΑΚΟΎΕΙΝ . God answers substantially; [254] see ch. Matthew 7:7 .

[251] Hesychius. There were several distinguished men of this name. The individual here intended was a celebrated grammarian and lexicographer of Alexandria, who lived somewhere about the fourth century. (I. B.)

[252] βατταρισμὸς signified either originally stuttering , or derivatively idle prating: φλυαρία , silly talk, nonsense, foolery . It is used also in the plural. The kindred adjective φλύαροι is rendered tattlers in 1 Timothy 5:13 , and the cognate participle φλυαρῶν , prating in 3Jn 1:10 by the Eng. Ver. (I. B.)

[253] Ammonius the grammarian must not be confounded with the author of the Ammonian Sections . He was a native of Alexandria, and flourished in the fourth century. The work here alluded to is his treatise De differentia dictionum . (I. B.)

[254] In the original “Deus respondit solide.” (I. B.)

Verse 8

Matthew 6:8 . Πρὸ κ . τ . λ ., before , etc.) We pray, therefore, not with the view of instructing, but of adoring, the Father.

Verse 9

Matthew 6:9 . Οὕτως , thus) i.e. in these words, with this meaning; sc. with a short invocation of the Father, and a short enumeration of the things which we require. To have truly prayed thus , is sufficient, especially in meaning, one portion being employed at one time, another at another, to express our desires; and thus also in words . For this formula is given in opposition to much speaking, has words best suited to the things which they express, a most perfect arrangement, and a fulness combined with brevity, which is most admirable; so that the whole discourse may be said to be contained in it. The matter of this prayer is the basis of the whole of the first epistle of St Peter; see Gnomon on 1 Peter 1:3 . Πάτερ , Father . An appellation by which God is never addressed in the Old Testament: for the examples which Lightfoot has adduced, are either dissimilar or modern, and prove no more than that the Jews spoke of God as their Father in Heaven, a formula to which Christ now gives life. The glory of the faithful in the New Testament is thus to pray . In this place is laid the foundation of praying in the name of Christ: see John 16:23 . He who is permitted to address God as his Father, may ask all things from Him in prayer. ἡμῶν , our ) The children of God individually pray for all His children collectively: but even their prayers are, by this little word our , declared to be more acceptable when offered in common: see ch. Matthew 18:19 . ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς , which art in the Heavens) i.e. Maxime et optime [255] ( Almighty, and All-good ); see ch. Matthew 7:11 . Shortly afterwards we find in Matthew 6:10 . ἐν οὐρανῷ , in Heaven ; nor is it without cause that the number [256] (which is elsewhere frequently used promiscuously, as in ch. Matthew 22:30 , and Mat 24:36 ), varies in so short a passage as the present: ΟὐΡΑΝῸς (in the singular number), signifies here that place, in which the will of the Father is performed by all, who wait upon Him; ΟὐΡΑΝΟῚ (in the plural) signifies the whole Heavens which surround and contain that one as it were lower and smaller Heaven: cf. note on Luke 2:14 . ἉΓΙΑΣΘΉΤΩ , hallowed be ) The petitions are seven in number and may be separated into two divisions, the former containing three petitions which relate to the Father, “THY Name , THY Kingdom , THY Will ,” the latter containing four which concern ourselves. In the former we declare our filial affection subscribing to the right, the dignity, and the good pleasure of God, after the manner of the angelic chorus in Luke 2:14 : but in the latter we both sow and reap. In both divisions is expressed the struggle of the sons of God from Earth to Heaven, by which they as it were draw down Heaven to Earth. The object of the first petition is the sanctification of our Divine Father s Name. God is holy: i.e. He is God. He is sanctified therefore, when He is acknowledged and worshipped and celebrated as He really is. The mood [257] in ἁγιασθήτω ( hallowed be ), has the same force as in ἐλθετω , come and γενηθήτω ( be done ): it is, therefore, a prayer and not an express doxology.

[255] The mode in which the ancients addressed the Supreme God. (I. B.)

[256] i.e. οὐρανὸς Heaven in the singular οὐρανοὶ heavens in the plural. (I. B.)

[257] i.e. all the three verbs are in the same mood, the Imperative, and have the same precatory force. It is scarcely necessary to remind the general reader that the Imperative Mood intreats as well as commands. (I. B.)

Verse 10

Matthew 6:10 . Ἐλθέτω γενηθήτω κ . τ . λ ., come be done , etc.) Tertullian has transposed these two petitions for the sake of his plan. For in his book on prayer, after he has treated of the petition, “ Hallowed be Thy name ,” he says, “ACCORDING TO THIS FORM, we add, ‘ Thy will be done in the heavens and on the earth .’ ” And he then refers the coming of God’s kingdom to the end of the world. ἡ βασιλεία Σου , Thy kingdom ) See Gnomon on ch. Matthew 4:17 , and Revelation 11:15 ; Revelation 11:17 . The sanctification of God’s name is as it were derived from the Old Testament into the New, to be continued and increased by us; but the coming of God’s kingdom is in some sort peculiar to the New Testament. Thus with these two petitions respectively, Cf. Revelation 4:8 ; Revelation 5:10 . τὸ θέλημα Σου , Thy will ) Jesus always kept His Father’s will before His eyes, for His own performance and for ours. See ch. Matthew 7:21 , Matthew 12:50 . ὡς , κ . τ . λ ., as, etc.) “It will be the part of the pastor to admonish the faithful, that these words, ‘as in heaven so on earth,’ may be referred to each of the (three) first petitions as, ‘Hallowed be Thy name, as in heaven so on earth,’ also, ‘Thy kingdom come as in heaven so on earth,’ in like manner, ‘Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth.’ ” ROMAN CATECHISM. [258] The codices however which in Luk 11:2 omit the words, “ Thy will be done ,” omit also the words, “ As in heaven so on earthἐν οὐρανῷ , in heaven ) We do not ask that these things may be done in heaven: but heaven is proposed as the normal standard to earth earth in which all things are done in different ways. [259]

[258] sc. that, issued under the sanction of the Council of Trent. (I. B.)

[259] In the original “in quâ aliter alia fiunt omnia.” Lit.: “in which all things are done, some one way, some another.” i.e. The unvarying uniformity of Heaven, which conforms itself undeviatingly to the Divine Will, should be the standard by which to correct the multiform variety of Earth, the infinite diversities of which are none of them in strict accordance with that Will. (I. B.)

Verse 11

Matthew 6:11 . Τὸν ἄρτον , the bread ) sc. nourishment of the body; see Matthew 6:19 , etc., 25, etc., from which it is evident that the disciples were not yet raised above the cares of this life. This short petition is opposed to the much speaking of the heathen, mentioned in Matthew 6:7 , which principally referred to the same object; [260] and it is placed first amongst those petitions which refer to ourselves, because the natural life is prior to the spiritual. Every want of ours is cared for in this prayer. ἩΜῶΝ , of or belonging to us ) our , sc. earthly. But the spiritual bread is the bread of God, i.e. that which is [given] by God, and [cometh forth] from God. ἐπιούσιον , daily ) This adjective is derived ἀπο τῆς ἐπιούσης , from the following day , and is composed of ἐπὶ and ἸΟῦΣΑ . [261] For from εἰμι , to be (from which also comes περιούσιος ) or from ΟὐΣΊΑ , essence or private property , would be composed, ἐπούσιος , in the same manner as ἘΠΟΥΡΆΝΙΟς , etc.: since although ἘΠῚ does not always lose the in composition before a vowel, it does lose it in ἜΠΕΣΤΙΝ , as also in ἜΠΕΊΜΙ from which this adjective must be originally derived according to this hypothesis. Our heavenly Father gives each day what is needed each day. Nor is it necessary that He should give it before. This His paternal and providential distribution suggests the expression ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς , for the coming day . The continuance, therefore, of our indigence, and of God’s fatherly beneficence as from year to year, so from day to day, is denoted by this phrase. Cf. 2 Kings 25:30 . λόγον ἡμέρας ἐν ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ , the proportion for the day on its day . Cf. Acts 6:1 , διακονία καθημερινὴ , daily ministration. The bread , as a whole, is appointed us for all our days; but the “ giving ” of it is distributed through the several days of our life, so as to take place each day. Both these ideas are expressed by the word ἐπιούσιος . What was necessary for the support of my life on any particular day, needed not to be given me on the day before that, but on that very day; and what was necessary on the following day, was given soon enough on that day, and so on. The sense therefore of ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς extends more widely with regard both to the past and the future, than that of “ crastinus” to-morrow’s . σήμερον , to-day ) In Luke 11:3 , we find τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν , day by day . Day by day we say and pray, “ to-day .” Our confidence and contentedness ( αὐτάρκεια ) [262] are thus expressed. Thus in James 2:15 , we have ἘΦΉΜΕΡΟς ΤΡΟΦῊ , daily food . Cf. also Proverbs 30:8 . Thus was manna given.

[260] viz. the cares of this life. ED.

[261] The feminine of ἰών , the participle present of εἶμι to go . (I. B.)

[262] See p. 150 and f.n. 3. (I. B.)

Verse 12

Matthew 6:12 . Καὶ , and ) The three remaining petitions regard the commencement, progress and conclusion of our spiritual life in this world; and those who utter them confess, not only their own need, but also their guilt, their peril, and their difficulties. When these have been removed, God is all in all to them, by virtue of the three first petitions. ὀφειλήματα , debts ) In Mat 6:14 we find παραπτώματα , lapses . In Luke 11:4 , we have ἁμαρτίας , sins . Cf. Matthew 18:24 . [263] Ὡς , as ) Before it was “AS in heaven , SO on earth ,” now it is “SO in heaven AS on earth .”

[263] We ought not merely in general to pray for deliverance from guilt contracted by our sins; but whoever offends God in this or any other peculiar manner, is bound also specially to acknowledge and pray for deliverance from such offences, and so to give Him the honour due to Him. V. g.

Verse 13

Matthew 6:13 . Μὴ εἰσενέγκης ἡμᾶς , Lead us not into ) Temptation is always in the way: wherefore we pray, not that it may not exist, but that it may not touch or overpower us. See ch. Matthew 26:41 ; 1 Corinthians 10:13 . ἀλλὰ , but ) The sixth and seventh petitions are so closely connected that they are considered by many as forming only one. ρῦσαι , deliver ) See 2 Timothy 4:18 . ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ , from the evil one) i.e. , from Satan. See ch. Matthew 13:19 ; Matthew 13:38 .

Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστινβασιλεία καίδύναμις καὶδόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας · Ἀμήν , For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen ) This is the scope of the Lord’s Prayer, that we may be taught to pray in few words ( Mat 6:8 ), for the things which we require ; and the prayer itself, even without the doxology, involves the praise of God in all its fulness (summam laudis Divinae imbibit). For our Heavenly Father is sanctified and glorified by us, when He is invoked as our Heavenly Father, when things of such magnitude are asked of Him alone, when to Him alone all things are referred. We celebrate Him, however, in such a manner as should content those who are fighting the fight of their salvation in a foreign land. When the whole number of the sons of God shall have reached their goal, a simple (mera) doxology will arise in Heaven, Hallowed be the name of our God. His kingdom has come: His will has been done. He has forgiven us our sins: He has brought temptation to an end: He has delivered us from the evil one. His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen . A prayer was more suitable than a hymn, especially at the time in which our Lord prescribed this form to His disciples. Jesus was not yet glorified: the disciples as yet scarcely comprehended the full extent of these petitions, much less the amount of thanksgiving corresponding thereto. In fine, no one denies that the spirit of the whole clause is pious and holy, and conformable to the doxologies which frequently occur in Scripture: but the question is whether the Lord prescribed it in this place in these words. Faithful criticism regards little, in doubtful passages, what may happen to be the reading of the majority of Greek MSS. now extant, which are more modern and less numerous than is generally supposed: the question under consideration is rather, what was the reading of the Greek MSS. of the first ages, and therefore of the spring itself, i.e. the first hand. [264] The Latin Vulgate, which is certainly without this clause, stands, and will continue to stand, nearest in antiquity to the spring: but the force of its testimony is not appreciated till after long experience. In this passage, however, Greek witnesses, few indeed, but those of high authority, support the reading of the Vulgate. I wish what I have said on this subject in my Apparatus [265] to be carefully considered. [266] Nothing has occurred since I published that work to weaken the arguments which I there brought together on this point, whereas something has occurred to confirm them very greatly: I allude to a passage in Enthymius, who flourished at the beginning of the twelfth century. For when inveighing the against the Bogomili [267] for not using this clause, he does so only on the ground that it was an addition of the Fathers, calling it τὸ παρὰ τῶν θείων φωστήρων καὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας καθηγητῶν προστεθὲν ἀκροτελεύτιον ἐπιφώνημα , The choral conclusion added by those who were the divine illuminators and guides of the Church . La Croze, [268] relying on this testimony, clearly prefers in this passage the Latin to the Syriac version; see his Histoire du Christianisme des Indes, p. 313. One thing ought to be considered again and again: the more that any one diminishes the authority of the Vulgate on this passage, so much the more does he injure his own cause if he maintains the genuineness of that most important passage in 1 John 5:7 : for it at present rests solely on the single testimony of the Latin Interpreter, and rests upon it firmly.

[264] BDZ abc Vulg. Memph. Omen, Cypr. (who adds “Amen”) omit the doxology. Orig. Nyssen, Cyril, Maximus all omit it in giving expressly an explanation of the prayer. So all the Latin Fathers. It rather too widely separates Matthew 6:12 ; Matthew 6:14 , which are connected together. Moreover Jesus was not yet glorified when He gave the prayer: it therefore was hardly then appropriate. It was probably added after the kingdom had been founded by the Holy Ghost on Pentecost. Ambrose de Sacram . Mat 6:5 implies that the doxology was recited by the priest alone, as a response ( ἐπιφώνημα ) after the people had repeated the Lord’s prayer. Alford, from 2Ti 4:18 where similarly ῥύσεται ἀπὸ πονηροῦ is followed by the doxology, argues that some such way of ending the prayer existed at that time. ED.

[265] He has devoted more than eight pages to the subject: See App. Crit. pp. 101 109. (I. B.)

[266] E. B. and those who have adopted his text, add here “especially § x. on this passage.” It runs thus:

[267] The BOGOMILES were a sect of heretics which arose about the year 1079. Their founder was Basilius, a monk, who was burnt at Constantinople in the reign of Alexius Conmenus. He maintained that the world and all animal bodies were formed, not by the Deity, but by an evil demon who had been cast down from heaven by the Supreme Being. Hence that the body was only the prison of the soul, and was to be enervated by fasting, contemplation, etc., that the soul might be gradually restored to its primitive liberty. Marriage therefore was to be avoided. Basilius also denied the reality of Christ’s body, which he considered to be only a phantom, rejected the law of Moses, and maintained that the body on its separation by death returned to the malignant mass of matter, without possibility of a future resurrection to life and felicity. See Mosheim . (I. B.)

[268] MATHURIN VEYSSIERE DE LA CROZE, a distinguished Oriental scholar, born at Nantes in 1661. In the course of his life he abjured Romanism, and died at Berlin in 1739. (I. B.)

De tota re, lector judicet.

Prætermisit clausulam Lutherus, in Agendis Baptismi, eisque renovatis; in Tract. de Decalogo, symbolo Apost. et oratione Dominica; in Catechismo utroque, et Hymno: ubi etiam Amen cum Hieronymo ad rogationes refert non ad clausulam, quanquam in Homil. ad. capp. v. vi. vii. Matth. eam tractat. Appendicem eam esse persuadent nobis rationes § ix. collectae; quanquam margo noster in suspenso rem reliquit, dum rationes fuissent expositæ: et plane pro appendice babet Brentius; Hunnius vel pro appendice vel pro epilogo , cujus moderationem recte sequentur, qui nil certi secum hic possunt constituere. Liberum saltem est privatim vel Matthæi receptam, vel Lucæ lectionem in orando sequi: quin etiam publice, in choro cænobiorum Wirtembergieorum, et alibi hodienum prætermitti solita est clausula. Cavendum vero, ne idiotæ intempestivis de hâc clausulâ sermonibus perturbentur. Hâc quoque in re et veritati et paci inserviendum est. “Sincera crisis,” etc., as in the Gnomon Ed. MDCCLIX, which is followed in this translation. (I. B.)

Verse 14

Matthew 6:14 . Γὰρ , for ) referring to the twelfth verse. See of how much account it is to forgive our neighbour. Of the seven petitions, one alone, the fifth, has a certain condition or restriction, as we also ; the reason of this is, therefore, added in the present verse.

Verse 15

Matthew 6:15 . Τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν , their trespasses ) The copies which omit these words, elegantly intimate that the sins of men against us, if compared with our sins against the Father, will vanish away. Some Latin writers omit also the words τοῖς ἀνθρώποις , men .

Verse 16

Matthew 6:16 . Ὅταν νηστεύητε , when ye fast ) Fasting also ought to be of great account with us; it is not a part of the ceremonial law. ἀφανίζουσι , they disfigure ) By neglecting the daily attention to the person of washing and anointing. An exquisite oxymoron, ἀφανίζουσι , φανῶσι . [269]

[269] i.e. a play upon these words, ἀφανίζω being the privative transitive formed from φανῶ , to appear . (I. B.)

Verse 17

Matthew 6:17 . Ἄλειψαι νιψαι , anoint wash ) Both verbs are in the middle voice; [the meaning therefore is] anoint and wash alone (solus unge et lava ). It was customary for the Jews to be anointed on feast days. [270]

[270] The sense is, Abstain from all rather severe exercises. V. g.

Verse 18

Matthew 6:18 . Τῷ Πατρὶ , to thy Father ) sc. thou mayest be known.

Verse 19

Matthew 6:19 . Ὅπου , where) i.e. on earth. This has a causative force, [271] being equivalent to because there . [272] ΒΡῶΣΙς , corrosion ) This word, in opposition to moth , expresses rust , and every evil quality by which anything can become useless. καὶ κλέπτουσι , and thus steal .

[271] Aetiology. See Appendix. ED.

[272] Such is the principle of the life of not a few men, that they seem to exist in the world only for the purpose of amassing an abundance of earthly possessions. V. g.

The particle δὲ in Mat 6:20 indicates that both cannot at the same time stand together. V. g.

Verse 21

Matthew 6:21 . Θησαυρὸς ὑμῶν καρδία ὑμῶν , [273] your treasure your heart ) Others read θησαυρός σου καρδία σου , thy treasure thy heart . [274] The objects which are mentioned in Matthew 6:22-40.6.23 (consequentia) are in the singular, those which are mentioned in Matthew 6:19-40.6.20 (antecedentia), with which this verse is connected, are in the plural number. The plural therefore must stand in this verse. The singular, “ thesaurus tuus ,” “ thy treasure ,” easily crept into the Latin Vulgate, and was convenient to the Greeks for ascetic discourses. The treasure which YOU collect is called in Luk 12:34 ὁ θησαυρὸς ὑμῶν , YOUR treasure . ἔσται , will be ) sc. in heaven or in earth respectively.

[273] Thus E. M. (I. B.)

[274] Θησαυρός σου καμδία σου is the reading of B abc Vulg. Memph. Theb. Cypr. 239. 303. The change to Sing. from Plur. Matthew 6:20 , is perhaps to imply that the heart of each individually is to be given to God. ED.

Such is the reading supported by Bengel in his German Version, where he writes, “ Denn wo dein Schatz ist, da wird auch dein Herz seyn .” “ For where THY treasure is, there will THY heart be also .” He explains dein Sehatz (thy treasure) by “Thy possession ( dein Gut ), on which thy Anxiety is set night and day.” In his App. Crit. he supports the reading of the Received Text, and speaks of σου as having crept in from the next verse. (I. B.)

Verse 22

Matthew 6:22 . Ὁ ὀφθαλμός , the eye ) This is the subject of the proposition. [275] ἐὰν οὖν , if therefore ) The particle οὖν ( therefore ) agrees exactly with the scope of the passage, and has been easily left out by some who have understood it, though they omitted it. [276] We will not linger on such matters. ἀπλοῦς , single, simple ) The word simplicity never occurs in the sacred writings in a bad sense. ἀπλοῦς signifies here simple and good, singly intent on heaven, on God. Here is an antithesis between ἀπλοῦς , single , in this verse, and δυσὶ , two , in Matthew 6:24 . That which is propounded figuratively in Matthew 6:22-40.6.23 , is declared in plain words in the following verses. φωτεινὸν , full of light ) As if it were all eye.

[275] Not as in E. V. “THE LIGHT of the body is the eye .” but “THE EYE is the light of the body .” ED.

[276] i.e. Those who omitted the word actually when copying in the text must have supplied it mentally when reading it. (I. B.)

Οὖν is the reading of B; b has enim; ac Hil. 520 omit it. ED.

Verse 23

Matthew 6:23 . Πονηρὸς , evil ) sc. shifting, double, inconsistent, imbued with self-love. τὸ φῶς , the light ) which the lamp should give. τὸ σκότος , the darkness ) How great darkness must be the darkness of the whole body! [277] πόσον , how great ) As great as the body.

[277] In the original the passage runs thus

Tenebr totius corporis, quantæ erunt tenebræ!” and then proceeds,

“Singularis tenebra , veteribus non ignotus, a multis Theologis in loco adhibitus, sæpius conveniret simplicitati hermeneuticæ.” (I. B.)

Verse 24

Matthew 6:24 . Κυρίοις , masters ) God and Mammon in sooth act as master to their servants, but in different ways. δουλεύειν , to serve ) i.e. [278] to be a servant of . ἢ γὰρ , for either ) Each part of this disjunctive sentence has καὶ ( and ) with a consecutive force, viz. The heart of man cannot be so free as not to serve either God or a creature, nor can it serve them both at once; [279] for it either still remains in enmity with God or it takes God’s part. In the one case, then ( καὶ ) it cannot but love Mammon; in the other, then ( καὶ ) it cannot but despise Mammon. This statement may be inverted, so that the clause referring to the laudable state of mind may precede the other. Cf. Matthew 6:22-40.6.23 . Attachment and a desire to please are consequent upon either servitude. See Matthew 6:21 . Θεῷ δουλεύειν , to serve God ) Which is described in Luke 12:35-42.12.36 . [280] μαμωνᾷ , Mammon ) Mammon does not only mean affluence, but external goods, however few. See Matthew 6:25 . [281] Augustine [282] tells us, that both in Phœnician and Chaldee mammon signifies gain.

[278] With one’s full powers. V. g.

[279] Although very many think themselves thoroughly versed in this art of combining both. V. g.

[280] The servants of Mammon, in obedience to their natural instincts, hate Him, who alone is good. V. g.

[281] Yea, even the commonest necessaries of life. Comp. Matthew 6:32 . But if even such a service of Mammon, as affects the mere necessaries of life, is opposed to the service of GOD, what then are we to suppose it to be to serve GOD. It is this: to be borne towards Him with the full tide of love, and with uninterrupted regard. V. g.

[282] AURELIUS AUGUSTINUS, one of the most celebrated fathers of the Western Church, was born at Tagasta, in Africa, in 354. His mother Monica was a holy Christian woman: his father a heathen, in which religion he was educated. His early career, though one of extreme brilliancy, was disfigured by profligacy. At length, however, he embraced Christianity; was baptized by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in 387; ordained priest in 391; and consecrated in 395 Bishop of Hippo, where he died in 430. (I. B.)

Verse 25

Matthew 6:25 . Μὴ μεριμνᾶτε , take no care for ) The disciples had left all things which could be the source of care to them. τῇ ψυχῇ , the soul ) The soul is supported by food in the body, which itself lives on food: the body alone is covered by raiment. καὶ τί πίητε , and what ye drink ) This has been easily omitted by copyists, or is easily understood (subauditur) by us. The 31st verse requires the express mention of drinking rather than the present, for in it the careful are introduced as themselves speaking, whereas in the present verse our Lord speaks in His own person. [283] Ἡ ΨΥΧῊ ΤῸ ΣῶΜΑ , the soul the body ) Both of which God gave and cares for. See the latter part of Matthew 6:30 . [284]

[283] ab Vulg. Hil. Bas. Epiph. Jerome (who says, however, it was added in some MSS.) omit ἢ τί πίητε . But BC, Orig. 1,711 d Memph. read the words. Rec. Text has καὶ instead of ἢ , the reading of the oldest authorities. ED.

[284] There is nothing so small and insignificant, which His omniscience neglects, Matthew 6:32 . V. g.

Verse 26

Matthew 6:26 . Οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν , neither do they collect ) as for example by purchase, for the future. [286] ὙΜῶΝ , your ) He says your , not their . μᾶλλον , more) i.e. you more excel as sons of God, than other men do, or than you who indulge in such care (anxiety) consider. The word μᾶλλον , therefore, is not redundant. In this verse, the argument is from the less to the greater; in Matthew 6:25 , from the greater to the less.

[286] “Into barns:” or even into other repositories of food, as we may see instanced in other animals V. g.

Verses 26-28

Matthew 6:26 ; Matthew 6:28 . τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ , the fowls of the air the lilies of the field ) which men do not take care of, often in fact destroying them; as for example the ravens, mentioned in Luke 12:24 . [285]

[285] The ant ( Pro 6:6 ) is an example, which we may apply as an antidote to slothfulness; the birds of heaven, to anxious cares. V. g.

Verse 27

Matthew 6:27 . Τὶς ἐξ ὑμῶν , which of you ) A mode of speaking frequent with Christ, full of majesty, and yet suited for popular use. ἡλικίαν , stature ) See Gnomon on Luke 12:25-42.12.26 . πῆχυν , a cubit ) So as to become of gigantic height.

Verse 28

Matthew 6:28 . Πῶς αὐξάνει , how they grow ) sc. to a great height. οὐ κοπιᾷ , they toil not) Toil is remotely, spinning intimately connected with procuring raiment, as sowing and reaping are with food.

Verse 29

Matthew 6:29 . Δέγω , I say ) Christ truly knew the dress of Solomon. ὡς , as) sc. is clothed , or is . ἓν , one ) any one, not to say a whole garland. [287] ΤΟΎΤΩΝ , of these ) The pronoun is used demonstratively.

[287] Kings were wont to wear white robes; but these are surpassed by the whiteness of the lilies. V. g.

Verse 30

Matthew 6:30 . Δὲ , but ) Used epitatically . [288] Garments are objects of comeliness, as well as necessity. The mention of the lilies with the verb περιβάλλεσθαι , to be arrayed , refers to the former; that of grass with the verb ἀμφίεννυσθαι , to be clothed , to the latter notion. χόρτον , grass, blade ) as for example that of growing wheat. See ch. Matthew 13:26 . An instance of Litotes . [289] ΣΉΜΕΡΟΝ ὌΝΤΑ , which to-day is) i.e. , which endures for a very short time. [290] ΑὔΡΙΟΝ , to-morrow ) After a short interval, the grains having been thrashed out, the straw serves for the fire. κλίβανον , the oven ) To heat it. See Lyranus. [291] Pliny [292] says, “rinds beaten from the flax are useful for ovens and furnaces.” B. 19, ch. 1. It is not said, into the fire, as in John 15:6 (cf. 1Co 3:12 ), but into the oven. Not, therefore, for the sake merely of being burnt, but of some utility. ἈΜΦ ΕΝΝΥΣΙΝ , clothe, dresseth ) The dress is properly that without which the body is naked: grass, although it has no external clothing, yet, because it is not naked, but is covered with its own surface, is itself its own dress, especially in its highest and flowering part, of which it is divested when it dries up. πολλῷ μᾶλλον , much more ) In this life few attain to the adornment of Solomon, not to mention that of the lilies; our Lord’s words, therefore, regard the certainty, not the degree of adornment: but in the life to come we shall be more adorned than the lilies. We ought not, however, altogether to reject adornment in things, however perishable. ὀλιγόπιστοι , O ye of little faith ) Want of faith was clearly unknown and abhorred by Christ; for He had known the Father. He teaches faith in this passage. [293]

[288] See Append. on Epitasis. It implies some word or words added to a previous enunciation to give augmented force. ED.

[289] See explanation of technical terms in Appendix. (I. B.)

[290] E. B. quotes here C. W. Lüdecke, “At Pentecost all these regions are clad in green verdure; but when the south wind suddenly arises, in 24 hours, or two or three days at most, there is nothing that does not become white and blanched.”

[291] The individual thus denominated was NICOLAS DE LYRE, so called from the place of his birth, a small village in Normandy. He is supposed by some to have been of Jewish extraction: he was born in the thirteenth century: he assumed the habit of the Franciscan order in 1291. He was a man of great learning, and especially versed in Hebrew: he wrote several treatises in defence of Christianity against the Jews, and a series of Postills or small commentaries on the whole of the Bible. He died in 1340. He was known in the schools by the surname of Doctor utilis . So great was the effect of his labours, that it gave rise to the proverb, “Si Lyra non lyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset,” i.e. , “If Lyre had not played on the lyre, Luther would not have danced.” (I. B.)

[292] CAIUS PLINIUS SECUNDUS, commonly called the elder Pliny, born, it is supposed, at Verona, about A.D. 23; died A.D. 79. He was a man of indefatigable study, and, though holding high offices in the state, published, besides other works, a natural history in thirty-seven books. (I. B.)

[293] This is the only mode of address, which Jesus employed, when wishing to censure the disciples: chap. Matthew 8:26 , Matthew 14:31 , Matthew 16:8 . V. g.

Verse 32

Matthew 6:32 . Πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα , κ . τ . λ ., for all these things , etc.) and nothing else. τὰ ἔθνη , the gentiles) the heathen nations . The faithful ought to be free from the cares, not only of the covetous among the heathen, but of all heathens; many, however, in the present day fall short of the heathen in this matter. [294] ἐπιζητεῖ , seek after ) as though a difficult matter. This word is followed by the simple verb ζητεῖτε , seek ye , οἶδε γὰρπατὴρ ὑμῶνοὐράνιος , for your Heavenly Father knoweth ) An argument from the omniscience, the goodness, and the omnipotence of God. ὑμῶν , your ) sc. who is your Father in a pre-eminent degree in preference to the heathen. [295]

[294] In the original, “At multi hodie non eam, quam gentes, habent αὐτάρκειαν .” Bengel in Gnomon on ch. Mat 4:4 defines αὐτάρκεια as “ Prœsens animi quies .” See p. 150 and f. n. 3. (I. B.)

[295] In the original all this is expressed by two words, “ præ ethnicis .” (I. B.)

Verse 33

Matthew 6:33 . Ζητεῖτε , seek ye ) the kingdom which is nigh at hand, and not difficult of acquisition. πρῶτον , first ) He who seeks that first, will soon seek that only. βασιλείαν , kingdom. δικαιοσύνην , righteousness ) Heavenly meat and drink are opposed to earthly, and thus also raiment; and, therefore, St Luke in his twelfth chapter leaves raiment to be understood at Matthew 6:29 , and righteousness at Matthew 6:31 , although righteousness also filleth ; see ch. Matthew 5:6 . [296] ΑὐΤΟῦ , his ) sc. righteousness. See the note on Romans 1:17 . ταῦτα , these things ) An instance of Litotes. [297] ΠΡΟΣΤΕΘΉΣΕΤΑΙ , shall be added unto ) These things are a προσθήκη or appendage of the life and body (see Mat 6:25 ); and still more so of the kingdom (see Luk 12:32 ).

[296] Sc. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be FILLED.” See also Gnomon in loc. (I. B.)

[297] The word used in the original is ταπείνωσις , concerning which John Albert Burk says, in his Explanation of the Technical Terms employed in the Gnomon

“LITOTES, Μειωσις , Ταπεινωσις , EXTENUATIO, quæ singulæ in Gnomone passim allegantur, vix ac ne vix quidem differunt.”

For explanation and examples, see Appendix. (I. B.)

Verse 34

Matthew 6:34 . Ἠ αὒριον , κ . τ . λ ., the morrow , etc.) A precept remarkable for Asteismus , [298] by which care, though apparently permitted on the morrow, is in fact forbidden altogether; for the careful make present cares even of those which are future, wherefore, to put off care is almost the same as to lay it aside. There is also a personification of the morrow (cf. Psa 19:2 ): “ the day ,” says our Lord, ( not you) “shall take care .” He who has learnt this, will contract his cares at length from the day to the present hour, or altogether unlearn them. μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῇ , [299] shall take care for itself ) A Dativus Commodi , [300] as in Matthew 6:25 , μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ μηδὲ τῷ σώματι , κ . τ . λ ., take no care for your LIFE nor yet for your Body , etc. ἀρκετὸν , sufficient ) God indeed distributes our adversity and prosperity, through all the periods of our life, after a wonderful manner, so that they temper each other. ἡ κακία , the evil) i.e. the sorrow; therefore there were no cares in the beginning. κακία , though originally meaning badness ( wickedness ), signifies here sorrow ; just as the Hebrew טוב ( ἀγαθὸς , good ) means joyful in Proverbs 15:15 . ΑὐΤῆς , thereof ) Although it be not increased by the sorrow of either the past or the coming day.

[298] i.e. For skilfully conveying a stern truth in such a manner as not to repel, offend, or startle the hearer: in the original, “monitum mire ἀστεῖον .” (I. B.) See on Asteismus in the Append. ED.

[299] The Ed. Maj. regarded ἑαυτῇ , as a less reliable reading than τα ἑαυτῆς . But Gnom. Exodus 1:0 (1742 A.D.) and Marg. Exodus 2:0 , and Vers. Germ, prefer ἑαυτῇ E. B.

[300] See explanation of Technical Terms. (I. B.)

Sollicitus erit sibi ipse . Vulg.

BGL abc Vulg. Cypr. 210, 307, Hil. 635, read μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς . Rec. Text has τὰ ἑαυτῆς , evidently a correction to introduce the more usual construction of μεριμνάω with the accusative. ED.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 6". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.