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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 10

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-4



Matthew 10:0 (Mark 3:13-19; Mark 6:7-11; Luke 9:1-5, etc.)

Contents:—The first evangelistic journey of the Lord had led through the mountains of Galilee; the second, across the sea to the country of the Gadarenes. On His third journey, the Lord visits the populous cities and villages of Lower Galilee, along the coast of the lake and in the direction of Samaria and Jerusalem. In measure as help Is extended by the Lord, both the need and the desire for help seem to increase. Accordingly, the Lord is obliged to send forth, in the power of His Spirit, His Apostles, in order, through them, to give succor to the multitudes around. Hence, the first mission of the disciples, the calling of the Apostles, and the instructions, which, although primarily given to them and for that special occasion, are applicable to all times. The chapter describes, 1. The separation, calling, and setting apart of the twelve. 2. The commission given them, corresponding to their equipment for the work; or, the mission of the Apostles, and their means of subsistence. 3. Their special direction to those who were prepared to receive the word, particularly to pious households, with injunctions about remaining and going away. 4. Prediction of the hostile reception which the Gospel would meet in the world, and of the persecutions which would await the Apostles. 5. Their duty under persecution: a. Freedom from anxiety as to what they should answer; b. constancy to the end, amid the dreadful contests between believers and unbelievers; c. holy flight; d. encouragement from the similar treatment received by the Master; e. fearlessness, openness, and readiness to meet death, in view of the one thing to be feared; f. trustfulness in the preserving care of the Father. 6. The reward of faithful witnesses and confessors of the Lord, and the punishment of those who denied Him. 7. The Gospel as declaration of war to the world, or, the holy sword. 8. Supreme love to the Lord as decisive in this warfare: a. The opponents, and their Judgment; b. the friends and allies, and their reward.

1. Choice of the Apostles. Matthew 10:1-4

1And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against [over]1 unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease [weakness, infirmity]. 2Now the names of the twelve Apostles are these; The first,2 Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;3 4Simon the Cananite,4 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed [delivered] him.


Matthew 10:1. And having called to Him His twelve disciples, προσκαλεσά μενος, etc.—Luke (Matthew 6:12) relates that, having spent the preceding night in prayer, the Lord called the twelve together, and then furnished and fitted them for their mission. Meyer says: “The mission, not the choice, of the twelve is here recorded.” But we must distinguish three calls: the first, to be disciples; the second, to serve as evangelists; and now the third, to the apostolic office. This call to the apostolate, however was only preliminary, and limited by the present circumstances and position of the Church. The apostolic office obtained its full proportions after the ascension of our Lord, when the knowledge of the disciples and their testimony was completed, and the Holy Spirit poured out on the day of Pentecost.

The call of twelve Apostles, indicating a definite and fixed number, shows that in its ultimate idea the apostolate was one, and that each individual called and sent by the Lord possessed the power and authority of the whole college of Apostles.

His twelve disciples.—They were called together as His twelve chosen disciples; but, after receiving authority, they became His twelve Apostles. A proof this, that a decisive change had taken place in their condition, although they did not cease to be His disciples in the strictest sense of the term.

Twelve.—Theophylact: κατὰ τὸν ὰριθμὸν τῶν δώδεκα φυλῶν. Matthew 19:28. They are, primarily, ambassadors to the twelve tribes of Israel, and to this their number corresponds. The twelve tribes bore typical reference to the purpose which Israel was intended to serve in the world. On the one hand, they expressed the idea of a full number, or of the fulness of the Spirit; while, on the other, they represented the world, which, in all its forms, was to be pervaded by this fulness of the Spirit. What the twelve tribes of Israel were typically, the twelve Apostles were in deed and in truth, being the twelve representatives and vehicles of the spiritual fulness with which Christ pervades His people, and, through them, the world.5

He gave them ἐξουσίαν, power, rule, authority; or, here, the power of conquerors.—De Wette and Ewald think that this power was conveyed in a mystical and symbolic form; Meyer, by a mere declaration. No special form is, indeed, mentioned in the text; but, as symbolical signs accompanied the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, and as, even before that, we read of the Saviour breathing on them (John 20:22) as the symbol of their consecration, we are warranted in inferring that, when first sent on their apostolic mission, the bestowal of power was accompanied by some outward sign. Perhaps the solemn authority given them in the words, “Heal the sick,” etc., may have been that sign. For, as the Lord performed His miraculous cures chiefly by the word of His power, so this word may also have conveyed similar authority to others. On the Mount of Olives there was the symbol of the hand lifted in blessing, which pointed to the pentecostal effusion.

Matthew 10:2. The names of the twelve Apostles.—These now assume greater importance. Four lists of the Apostles are extant: that in the text; that in Mark 3:16; that in Luke 6:14; and that in Act 1:13.6 The enumeration in the Gospel according to Luke is made almost in the same order as in Matthew, although it occurs at an earlier stage, and in connection with the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke, the name of Thomas occurs after that of Matthew; that of James Alpheus along with that of Simon, instead of Judas Lebbeus, so that the latter is conjoined with Judas Iscariot. Probably this arrangement was adopted as more easy for the memory, while that of Matthew was the more authentic. Again, the enumeration in the Gospel of Mark agrees with that in the Book of Acts, which was determined by the later positions occupied by the Apostles. Thus we distinguish two lists of Apostles,—the first, as determined by their earliest mission; the second, according to the relative position of the Apostles at the feast of Pentecost and afterward. Bengel: Universi ordines habent tres quaterniones, quorum nullus cum alio quicquam permutat; tum in primo semper primus est Petrus, in secundo Philippus, in tertio Jacobus Alphœi; in singulis cœteri apostoli loca permutant; proditor semper extremus.

’Απόστολος (ὰποστέλλω), שָׁלדּחַ, occurs also in a wider sense, as in John 12:16; Philippians 2:25. In the special sense of the term, it applies to the ambassadors called by God, or the witnesses and representatives of Christ in extending His Church, and with certain limitations, in ruling His Church (Revelation 2:1, ἄγγελος). The peculiar conditions necessary for the apostolate are mentioned in Acts 1:8, and Matthew 10:21. In a secondary sense, the term is also applied to apostolic messengers, as Romans 16:7; 2 Corinthians 8:23. (Comp. Schaff’s Hist. of the Apost. Church, §129, p. 512 sqq.)

ΠρῶτοςΣίμων.—As the other Apostles are not numbered, it follows that πρῶτος is not accidental (Fritzsche), but indicates a priority. This distinction depended: 1. On the prophetic arrangement of the Lord in this place; 2. on the confession of Peter preceding that of the others, Matthew 16:16; Matthew 3:0. on the appearance of Peter at the day of Pentecost, when he was the instrument of founding the Church, Acts 2:14; Acts 4:0 on the fact that Peter was the first to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts 10:0. But that this priority of dignity and mission did not imply a primacy of rank—not even so far as his own person was concerned, much less as a permanent arrangement—appears from many declarations of the Lord (Matthew 18:18; Matthew 20:25; Matthew 23:8; Matthew 28:19; John 20:21; Acts 1:8), from the conduct of Peter himself (Acts 11:4; Acts 15:0; see 1 Pet.), and from that of the other Apostles and of the Church (Acts 9:0; Galatians 2:0).7 Meyer suggests that Peter was also first called; but Andrew and John had been summoned before him. The traitor is mentioned last, not merely on account of his end, but also because he was last called. The arrangement into pairs is explained by the notice of Mark, that they were sent forth by two and two.

Matthew 10:2-4. The names.—1. שִׁמְצוֹן Συμεώ ν, Σιμεώ ν, Σίμων (hearing, answer, Genesis 29:33).—Πέτρος, stone, rock, πέτρα,—in Chald. כֵּיפָא, Κηφᾶς. The following is the explanation given in Matthew 16:17 : Simon, thou son of Jonas, of the dove (ידֹנָה), which lodgeth in the clefts of the rock (image of the Church, Song of Solomon 2:14; Jeremiah 48:28), thou shalt be called the Rock (of the dove).—2. ’Ανδρέας . Winer regards it as of Greek origin; Olshausen derives it from the Hebrew נִדַר, to make a vow. There seems, however, to have been a peculiar connection between the Grecians and Andrew and Philip, which also appears in their names (John 12:22). The name Andrew is related to ἀνδρεῖος , manly, and to ὰνδριάς , the representation of a man—a statue. Probably this Apostle had also a Hebrew name; in which case the name Andrew was given to characterize his manly spirit.—3. ’Ι άκωβος, יַצֲקֹב; primarily, an Old Testament name of honor, the original meaning of the name not being taken into account. This James, or the Elder, is designated as ὸ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου (see Matthew 4:0).—4. Ἰωάννης, יוֹחָנָן, given by Jehovah, or by the grace of Jehovah. By the grace of God.8 Properly, God is favorable, gracious, He grants as of grace.—According to Mark, the sons of Zebedee were called “sons of thunder;” not by way of reproof, but as characteristic of their disposition. Probably the name applied primarily to James. John was afterward designated the “friend of Jesus,” and “the disciple whom the Lord loved;” in the ancient Church, ὁ ἐπιστήθιος , i. e., he who leaned on His breast [His bosom-friend], sat at His right hand.—5. Φίλιππος. The original derivation of the word is not of personal importance in this case. Probably he had another name. He was a native of Bethsaida, and one of the earliest disciples of Jesus, John 1:43.–6. Βαρθολομαῖος, the same as Nathanael. In John 1:46, he occurs in connection with Philip; while in the other Gospels the same name is coupled with Bartholomew. נְתַנְאִל, the gift of God; while Bartholomew, בַּ־ תָּלְמַי, means son of Tholmai, Sept. 2 Samuel 13:37. תָּלִמַי, properly rich in furrows, cultivated field. Perhaps the original designation, “son of Tholmai,” was afterward converted into an apostolical by-name, implying, son of a rich field, rich fruit.—7. Θωμᾶς, תְּאוֹם, gemellus, twin-brother; Δίδυμος, John 11:16; John 20:24; John 21:2.—8. Ματθαῖος ὁ τελώνης: on this name compare the Introduction. His original name was Levi, the son of Alpheus.—9. ’Ι άκωβοςὁτοῦ ’Α λφαίου, James the Younger, or the son of Alpheus (though undoubtedly of other parentage than Matthew).—10. Λεββαῖος, לִבִּי (not from the little town of Libba, near Carmel, as Gerlach and Lisco suggest, but) from לֵכ, heart, and meaning almost the same as Θαδδαῖος, תַּדַּי (which occurs in the Talmud), from תַּד, the breast,—hence the hearty or courageous. In later Codd., and in the parallel passages, in Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13, he is called ’Ι ούδας ’Ι ακώβου, i. e., brother of James, יְהוּדָה (ver bale fut. Hophal a יָדָה, Hiphil, professus est, celebravit).—11. Σίμων ὁ Kαναν αῖος. The latter designation derived from קִנִא, in Chald. קַנְאִן. The explanation of it appears even from the other reading, Kανανίτης, and still more from the title Ζηλωτής in Luke,—the brother of James of Alpheus and of Judges 9:0 On “the brothers of the Lord,” see the Encycls., and my article Jacobus in Herzog’s Reallex.—12. ’Ι ούδαςὁ ’Ι σκαριώτης, אִישׁ קְרִיּזֹת. From Kerioth in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:25. See also Lightfoot. ‘Ο καὶ (qui idem) παραδοῦς αὐτόν, “Who also delivered Him” (not “betrayed,” which would have been expressed by προδούς). So Meyer. In point of fact, the two, however, are identical.


1. From the occurrence of so many double names10 of the Apostles, we are naturally led to infer that each had his peculiar designation. But Judas the traitor had none: in the deepest sense he remained anonymous—the man of Kerioth. These additional names serve in many respects to indicate the characteristics of the Apostles. (Comp. Leben Jesu, Matthew 2:2, p. 691.)

2. The selection of the twelve Apostles, no doubt, depended on their exhibiting in the highest degree the most precious manifestations of the life of Christ. In some respects their qualifications must have been similar. They were to be laymen, unconnected with the priesthood; unlearned men, unconnected with traditional philosophy; and plain men, unconnected with the false culture and the pomp of the world. Again, so far as their positive qualifications were concerned, they must be pious Israelites, believers in the Messiah, disciples, men of gifts, and that of so diverse a character as to form a kind of contrast, and yet to display their higher unity in Christ. In this respect they were to be the antitype of the tribes of Israel (of the twelve gems in the breastplate of the high priest; see Revelation 21:19-20, compared with Exodus 28:17), and to exhibit the great features of the Church, as adapted to the various forms of spiritual receptiveness and felt need in the world. The number twelve was that of the fulness of the kingdom of God (so to speak, of the ideal presbytery),—three, the number of the Spirit, multiplied by four, the number of the world. Hence twelve was the symbolical number of the world as transformed.

Viewed in this light, we have the following fundamental types:—

1. Peter, the Rock. Confession.

2. Andrew, the manly pioneer. Missions.

3. James, the son of thunder. Martyrdom.

4. John, the beloved disciple. Mysticism and ideal depth and calmness.

5. Philip. Sensible evidence of faith. Communion (“Come and see”).

6. Bartholomew. Perfect sincerity, simplicity, and devoutness.

7. Thomas, the twin. The spirit of inquiry and sacred criticism.

8. Matthew. Theocratic and ecclesiastical learning.

9. James, the brother of the Lord. [?] Gift of union, ecclesiastical government.

10. Judas Lebbeus, Thaddeus. Earnestness for the purity of the Church. Pastoral faithfulness, discipline.

11. Simon, the Zealot. Zeal for a proper development in the Church. Pastoral activity.

12. Judas Iscariot. Secular administration of the Church. Church property.11

The calling of Judas Iscariot, who is designated a devil, John 6:70; a thief, Matthew 12:6; the son of perdition, Matthew 17:12, forms a great theological problem. Either of the two ordinary explanations—that Christ had not known him from the beginning; or else, that He had chosen him to become the voluntary instrument of judgment, and the involuntary instrument of salvation—appears to us opposed to the spirit of Christ. We would rather venture to suggest, that, carried away by temporary enthusiasm, Judas had offered himself to the Lord; that the disciples, blinded by his glowing zeal, had earnestly recommended him to the Master; and that, in the fulness and boldness of His love, Christ had consented to receive a man so richly gifted by nature, chiefly because His refusal might have proved a stumbling-block to the disciples. [?]

[The biblical symbolism of numbers to which Dr. Lange here alludes, is worthy of more serious attention than it has received in English theology. There is room here for fanciful theories; but the main points hardly admit of serious doubt. The careful student of the Scripture must be struck with the frequency of the use of certain numbers, especially 3, 4, 7, 10, and 12, in significant connection with sacred ideas and things, from Genesis to Revelation. It is impossible to resolve all this into mere accident, or an unmeaning play. God is “the wonderful Numberer, the Numberer of secrets” (comp. פַּלְמינִי, Daniel 8:13, and the marginal note in the Auth. Vers.), and “doeth all things in number and measure and weight” (Wis 11:20). Number is expressive of order, symmetry, proportion, and relativity. 1 is the symbol of unity or oneness, 2 of antithesis and polarity, 3 of synthesis, of the uncreated Divinity, the holy Trinity (compare the Mosaic benediction, Numbers 6:24-26, the Trisagion, Isaiah 6:3, the baptismal formula, the apostolic benediction), 4 of humanity or the created world as the revelation of God (think of the four corners of the earth, the four seasons, the four points of the compass, the four elements, the four Gospels). From this may be explained the symbolical significance of 7 or 3 + 4, and of 12 or 3 × 4. Seven, being the union of 3 and 4, is the signature of the relation of God to the world, or the covenant (the Hebrew word for seven, שֶׁבַצ, signifies also an oath, Genesis 21:31; Genesis 26:33, and the verb שִׁבַצ, to swear, “since seven,” as Gesenius explains, “was a sacred number, and oaths were confirmed either by seven victims offered in sacrifice, Genesis 21:28, or by seven witnesses and pledges”). Seven figures very conspicuously in Scripture from the first institution of the sabbath in paradise to the seven churches, seven angels, seven Spirits, etc., of the Apocalypse. Creuzer observes (Symbolik, vol. 2:161): “The universal sanctity of the number seven was fully acknowledged even by the ancients in all its bearings.” Twelve, being the product of 3 and 4, symbolizes, from the twelve patriarchs and twelve tribes down to the twelve foundations and twelve gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, the indwelling of God in the human family, or the interpenetration of the world by the Divinity. Ten is the number of harmony and completeness, as in the ten commandments.

This whole subject has been very thoroughly discussed, with special reference to the Tabernacle where the Numbers 3:4, Numbers 3:10, Numbers 3:5, Numbers 3:7, , Numbers 3:12 control the whole structure, by Dr. Chr. W. F. Bæhr in his able and learned work: Die Symbolik des Mosaischen Cultus, Heidelberg, 1837, vol. i., p. 128–233, and also by H. Kurtz in the Theol. Studien und Kritiken for 1844, p. 315–370. Of English divines Fairbairn (Typology of Scriptures, 2d ed., 1854, vol. ii., 87 sq.) adopts Bähr’s view, as far as the number ten is concerned; Trench (Epistles to the Seven Churches, p. 83–91 of the Am. ed. of 1861); Wordsworth (Com. on Matthew 10:2) with regard to 7, 3, and 4; M. White: The Symbolical Numbers of Scripture, Edinb. 1868. The work of Dr. M. Mahan: Palmoni; or the Numerals of Scripture a Proof of Inspiration, New York, 1863 (based in great part upon Browne’s Ordo Sœculorum, but ignoring Bähr), does not discuss, as one might infer from the title, the symbolic import of Scripture numbers, but more the relation of numbers to events and the coincidences of periods.—P. S.]

3. It is a remarkable fact, that Christ constructed His apostolate on the basis of natural relationship and of mental affinity. Seven of the Apostles were brothers: viz., Peter and Andrew; James and John, the sons of Zebedee (probably cousins of the Lord; see Wieseler, in the Studien u. Kritiken for 1840, p. 648, and Winer, art. Salome); the sons of Alpheus—James the Younger, Judas Lebbeus, and Simon Zelotes (the cousins [?] and adoptive brothers of the Lord, commonly called His brethren). Then we read of the friendship subsisting between Philip and Bartholomew; Andrew, John, and Peter. Finally, the three last-mentioned Apostles, and perhaps some of the others also, had been disciples of John.

4. The sending forth of the disciples by two and two, indicates that none of them by himself was a sufficient representative of the fulness of Christ, and that each supplemented the other, both in the way of limitation and enlargement. This state of matters ceased after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, when the disciples became Apostles in the full sense of the term.
5. We shall speak in another place of the breach formed among the Apostles by the apostacy of Judas, of the election of Matthias in his place, and of the calling of the Apostle Paul.


How the Lord converts His chosen disciples into Apostles.—How He makes His redeemed fellow-workers in His work of redemption.—How the love and compassion of Christ branches out, and spreads over His people and over the world.—What we have learned in the school of the Lord must be exhibited in our life, activity, and teaching.—The call to the work of Evangelists: 1. What it implies; 2. how it presupposes one great calling; 3. how it includes many calls.—The calling of the disciples a bestowal of authority upon them by the Lord.—What power do you, who profess to hold the apostolic office, display: to cast out unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people?—The apostolic office must appear in spiritual power, which, under God, will awaken souls to newness of life.—The twelve Apostles as representing the great features of the kingdom of God: 1. The great features of the destiny of Israel; 2. of the fulness in Christ; 3. of the Church; 4. of the kingdom of heaven in its perfectness.—The apostolic name a type of the new name which Christians are to obtain.—How personal character comes out and becomes transformed in the kingdom of God, to the glory of the Father and of Christ.—How all friendship and relationship should be subservient to the kingdom of God.—The calling of fishermen and publicans to the apostolic office an evidence of the glory of Christianity.—Judas, or the dangers of ecclesiastical office.—Even Judas must, for the time being, be acknowledged as an Apostle of the Lord.

Starke:—Osiander: Let us not attempt to do everything ourselves, without assistance.—Majus: Those who are sent into the Lord’s vineyard must be properly furnished for the work.—Bibl. Wurt.: We must not be offended at the humble origin and the poor appearance of preachers.

Lisco:—Judas; or, even the Church of God is not absolutely pure.—The Apostles had personally seen the Lord, were called directly by Him, accredited their witness by miracles, were not bound to one congregation, and preached the word of God without error.

Heubner:—This mission was at the same time a trial of their teaching.


[1] Matthew 10:1.—[Over (as in Conant’s Matthew and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union) is expressed by the construction of ἐξουσίαν with the genitive, and need not be italicized as against in the E. V.—P. S.]

[2] Matthew 10:2.—[Πρῶτ ος is rendered by Conant and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union: first, viz. in the order of enumeration (nomen numerate ), while the translation the first (nomen dignitatis) implies a certain superiority of rank or primacy of honor (but no supremacy of jurisdiction), in other words, makes Peter primus inter pares (not summus supra inferiores). The C. V. is right here, since the other Apostles are not numbered, as we should expect, if π ρῶτος referred merely to the arrangement, or the priority of calling (which rather belongs to Andrew arid John, and not to Peter, comp. John 1:37-41). Maldonatus: “Si numerale nomen esset. cœtera quœque numeralia nomina, quœ post illud sequuntur posita essent.” Most modern Protestant commentators admit a certain primacy of Peter, who stands first in all the lists of the apostles, as James, John, and Andrew follow next, and Judas stands last, but they deny the inferences of the Roman Cath. Church, based upon doctrinal and historical assumptions which can never be proven. See Com.—P. S.]

[3] Matthew 10:3.—[The oldest authorities read only either Lebbeus or Thaddeus; the tiætus receptus unites both with the addition surnamed, ὁ ἐπικληθείς. Lange reads simply Lebbeus with Tischendorf and Meyer (also Alford in the 4th ed.), and puts the words: surnamed Thaddeus in brackets; while Lachmann, Tregelles, and Conant give the preference to Thaddeus after the Vatican Cod., etc.—P. S.]

[4] Matthew 10:4.—The reading Καναναῖος (for Κανανίτης) is supported by Codd. B., C., D. [The word should be rendered Cananite as the revised edition of the Am. Bible Society (1854), the revised version of Dr. Conant and the Am. Bible Union have it, and as Dr. Crosby (The N. T. with Explan. Notes or Scholia) proposes, instead of Canaanite as in the usual editions of the E. V., including those of the Am. B. Soc. since 1855.—P. S.]

[5][Comp. Maldonatus, the distinguished Rom. Cath. commentator in Quatuor Evang-lia, ad loc.: “Hac ergo de causa duodecim Christus apostolos esse voluit, ut duodecim Patriarcharum figuram impleret; et quemadmodum ex duodecim. Patriarchis totus Judaicus populus carnaliter propagatus est; ita totus populus Christianorum spiritualiter ex duodecim. Apostolis propagaretur; venerat enim Christus, ut carnem in spiritum commutaret.” Wordsworth remarks on Matthew 10:2 : “The number Twelve (3 × 4) in Scripture seems to be significant of perfection and universality; and the twelve apostles were regarded by the ancient church as typified by the twelve Sons of Israel (comp Matthew 19:28 and Ma’donatus here), the twelve wells at Elim (Exodus 15:27), and perhaps by the twelve stones of the Urim and Thummim on the bre stplate of the High Priest, the type of Christ (Exodus 28:15-21); the twelve leaves of shew-bread; the twelve ‘exploratores’ of the promised land, the type of heaven; the twelve stones taken from the bed of Jordan. They seem also to be represented by the twelve stars in the crown of the woman in the wilderness, the Church on earth (Revelation 12:1), as well as by the twelve foundations of the Church glorified (Revelation 21:14; Ephesians 2:20).”—P. S.]

[6] [I subjoin the following synoptic table which exhibits the agreement and the difference, and the fact that all the four catalogues arrange the names into three classes, of which each class includes the same names and is headed by the same name, viz. the first by Peter, the second by Philip, the third by James the son of Alpheus.—P. S.]


Matthew 10:2-4.

Mark 3:16-19.

Luke 6:14-16.

Acts 1:13.


Σίμων Πέτρος








































̓Ιάκωβος ὁτοῦ ̓Α λφαίου







Σίμων ὁ καλ. Ζηλωτής

Σίμων ὁ Ζηλωτής


Σίμων ὁ Καναναῖος


̓Ιούδας ̓Ιακώβου

̓Ιούδας ̓Ιακώβου


̓Ιούδας ̓Ισκαριώτης

̓Ιούδας ̓Ιακαριώθ



[7][Compare the notes of Maldonatus. Olshausen, Meyer, Alford, Barnes. Wordsworth, Alexander, etc., in loc., and my discussion of the question of Peter’s alleged primacy and supremacy in the History of the Apostolic Church, § 90 (Engl. transl., p. 350 sqq.).—P. S.]

[8][Compare the Greek Theodor, the German Gotthold, Gotilieb.—P. S.]

[9]Zealots, for the national religion, after the example of Phinchas, Numbers 25:7. They were quite in accordance with the spirit of the theocracy, and acted as reprovers of open and public sin. From the history of the last Jewish war we learn how fearfully this institution had degenerated.

[10][Not bynames, as the Edinb translator has it. misled by the German Beiname. which means literally surname, cognomen, while Nickname or Spitzname is the English byname or nickname. We must, however, observe a slight difference. The text uses the word Beiname, surname, for all the additional names of the Apostles, whether old or new (as Peter); but with the ancient Romans cognomen was the third name indicating the house (familia) of the person (the family name, surname, in German: Familienname), while women described the class (gens) and [illegible]pranosten (like our Christian name) the individual.—P. S.]

[11][Comp. the delineation of the leading apostles, Peter, John, Paul, and James, in Schaff’s History of the Apostolic Church, p. 437 sqq.]

Verses 5-10

2. The Mission, the Message, and the promised Support. Matthew 10:5-10

5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,12 and into any [a] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,13 cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, in 10your purses [girdles]14; Nor scrip [bag] for your journey, neither [nor] two coats, neither [nor] shoes,15 nor yet staves [a staff]Matthew 16:0 : for the workman is worthy of his meat.17


The instruction to the Apostles is contained in Matthew 10:5-42. The parallel passages are in the ninth, tenth, and twelfth chaps. of Luke. As Matthew was an eyewitness, we have sufficient guarantee for the accuracy of the instructions as reported by him.

Matthew 10:5. The way of the Gentiles;—i. e., to the Gentiles, or into Gentile territory. This with special reference to their own condition, and to the circumstance that they were to take the road toward Jerusalem, as appears from the following clause.

Into any city of the Samaritans.—Samaria lay on their way from Galilee to Judæa. The Lord does not prohibit their passing through Samaria, but only their settling for evangelistic purposes, for which the time had not yet arrived. This passage, with its injunction, not to the Gentiles, nor to the Samaritans, but to the Jews, contrasts with the command after His resurrection: “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” The Lord assigns to the Samaritans a position intermediate between the Jews and the Gentiles, which is fully borne out by their history. They had greater claim on the gospel than the Gentiles, but less than the Jews. This seems to imply (what Hengstenberg denies) that they were a mixed race, whose religion consisted of a combination of Jewish and heathen elements. The Samaritans were the descendants of the heathen colonists (Gerlach: Phœnicians and Syrians?) whom Shalmaneser sent into the country after the deportation of the Ten Tribes into Assyria (2 Kings 17:24), and of the remnant of Israelites left behind, with whom they intermarried. When the Jews returned from the Babylonish captivity, they prevented the Samaritans from taking part in rebuilding the temple. Accordingly, the latter reared, under Sanballat and Manasseh (Nehemiah 13:28), a sanctuary of their own, on Mount Gerizim, which was destroyed by Hyrcanus, 109 b. c. The place, however, was regarded sacred, and prayer was offered there. The Jews treated the Samaritans as heretics (not absolutely as heathens). Their enmity was, perhaps, partly accounted for by the conduct of the Samaritans, who neither consistently espoused the cause of Judaism nor that of heathenism. This led to bitter hatred and jealousy between these neighboring populations. In later times, the Samaritans continued strict Monotheists, cherished the hope of a coming Messiah, and adopted the Pentateuch as their authority in matters of faith. But even then heathen elements appeared among them. See Acts 8:0.

We must not overlook the difference between μὴἀπέλθητε and μὴεἰσέλθητε. The conversation between the Lord and the woman of Samaria, and His appearance in one of their cities, fully prove that this was merely a provisional arrangement for the disciples. The Lord Himself generally acted on the principle of proceeding from the particular to the universal (Matthew 15:24), since His kingdom had first to be founded and established in Israel. But withal, He ever prosecuted His great object of extending His kingdom to the utmost boundary of the earth. This temporary limitation to Israel was, however, the condition necessary for the attainment of this object: Matthew 8:11, etc. In the case of His disciples, He strictly insisted on this methodical procedure; and the express prohibition in this instance shows how readily the opposite might have taken place, or, in other words, how deeply they were already imbued with the spirit of catholicity. Accordingly, it is absurd to urge that this prohibition is incompatible with John 4:0 (Strauss), or with Matthew 28:19 (Gfrörer, Köstlin). Heubner: To have sent the disciples to the Gentiles and the Samaritans, would have been to close the way to the hearts of the Jews. A people had first to be gathered among them, for theirs were the calling and the promises. During Christ’s brief ministry on earth, there was neither time nor room for going beyond the boundaries of Canaan.

Matthew 10:8. Raise the dead.—“The first instance in which the dead were raised by apostolic agency, occurs in the Book of Acts (Matthew 9:36); but the Seventy reported on their return, that the evil spirits were subject to them, Luke 10:17.” Gerlach.

Freely ye have received.—This refers both to their teaching, and to the miraculous help which they were to bring.

Matthew 10:9. In your purses, or rather girdles.—The girdle of the upper garment served at the same time as purse. In the East, the rich wear pockets in their dresses.—Neither gold, nor silver, nor brass (copper, small coins; Vulg.: pecunia). A descending climax, showing that even the least profit from their office was prohibited; but implying neither a vow of poverty nor of mendicancy, in the popish sense. They were to introduce the great principle, that the messengers of the gospel had claim on daily support and free hospitality.

Matthew 10:10. The prohibition to provide themselves with two under garments, and to bestow care on travelling shoes and travelling staves, may have been a symbolical mode of enjoining that they were rather to stay in one place, than to hurry from one to another,—in general, that they were to be lightly attired, and free of care. Perhaps the word ὑποδήματα means travelling shoes in the strict sense, as distinguished from σανδάλια. The ὐπόδημα κοῖλον refers to the Roman calceus. According to Mark, they were not to put on two under garments. This is merely a stronger expression. But it may be regarded as intended by way of explanation, that in that Gospel the messengers of Christ are directed to take a staff, and to be shod with sandals. This staff of which Mark speaks, is not to be understood as in opposition to several staves (hence, perhaps, the reading ῥάβδους, in several Codd.), but to a larger outfit for the journey. Hence the two accounts substantially agree. They were not to concern themselves about the staff, far less to make a profit of it by their office.

For the workman is worthy of his meat [living].—This serves as key to the preceding passage. Their maintenance and their office were not to be severed. They were to trust to their office for their maintenance, and their maintenance was to be exclusively for their office (1 Corinthians 9:14; Galatians 6:6). Olshausen rightly calls attention to the difference of times expressed in Luke 22:35. Among those who were prepared to receive the gospel, they required no provision for the future; not so among enemies, although in that case also anxious care was to be banished ( Matthew 10:19). The laborer is ἄξιος, worthy, —indicating his personal value, of which he should be conscious with dignity, i. e., with humility and confidence.


The instructions which the Lord gave to His ambassadors, were, in the first place, intended for their first mission. But the terms are so pregnant, the directions so deep in their bearing, and so general in their application, that they may be taken as the type of all the commissions given by Christ to His servants. This remark applies, first, to the aim of their mission, viz., to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; i. e., in the first place, always to those who are most willing and prepared to receive the truth, as well as to the most needy. Next, as to the negative direction about their way, we gather that we are not to reverse the Divine order and arrangement in preaching the gospel,—a rule which Paul invariably followed, Acts 16:6; Acts 16:9. Then, as to their commission. They are, (a) to preach: to announce that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (b) To confirm their word,—1. by quickening,—healing the sick, and even raising the dead; 2. by purifying,—cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. The servants of Christ must always aim after these two effects in their activity.—Lastly, as to their reward. Freely they receive, freely they give. And yet there is no need for care, since the laborer is worthy of support. The preaching of the gospel must never be degraded into an ordinary worldly employment; nor, on the other hand, should the evangelist be afraid or ashamed to accept of sufficient support from those to whom he preaches, and that according to their own mode of living. We are unfit for building up the kingdom of heaven, or of self-sacrificing love, if we approach the work in a spirit of covetousness or of anxious care, distrusting the supplies of the Church. That this freedom from care does not exclude necessary provision, as indicated by our circumstances and by those of the persons around us, nor the careful preservation of such provision, appears from the history of the miraculous feeding of the multitude. In both these instances there was a small provision, and a larger one was preserved. Gerlach mentions the cloak of Paul as a case in point, 2 Timothy 4:13. But this last circumstance also shows how free from all outward care the Apostles had been.


Christ sending forth His messengers: 1. The messengers; 2. the aim; 3. the way; 4. the message; 5. the price (freely, in the love of Christ); 6. the provision and the support.—The mission of the twelve Apostles, in its continuance to the end of the world.—Fulfilment of the prediction, “How beautiful upon the mountains!” etc., Isaiah 52:7.—How Divine wisdom orders the way of Divine love: 1. As need increases, help enlarges; 2. through limitation to universality; 3. from those who are most susceptible, to those who are less susceptible; 4. through the quickening of the people of God, to that of the world.—True and false separatism, as distinguished from true and false universalism, in the spread of the faith.—Missionary zeal must accommodate itself to right order, and move in the right direction.—How does the Lord indicate the manner in which to carry on His work? 1. By His word; 2. by the history of His kingdom; 3. by His spirit.—The eternal obligation to carry the gospel to the Jews, as derived from the injunction to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.—Symbolical meaning of the injunction: 1. To go to the lost; 2. to the lost sheep; 3. to those on whom the hope of the Church rests.—The message of salvation: 1. An announcement of the kingdom of heaven by the word; 2. an exhibition of the word of God by deeds.—How the ambassadors of the Church must prove their Divine mission: 1. By healing the sick, not by torturing the whole; 2. by raising the dead, not by killing the living; 3. by cleansing the lepers (heretics), not by representing as heretics those who are pure; 4. by casting out devils, not by setting them free.—Freely ye have received, freely give: the fundamental principle for the spread of the kingdom of God.—Freedom from care of the messengers of Jesus.—The pilgrims lightly attired, carrying in their hearts the treasures of heaven: 1. Outwardly, unburdened; 2. inwardly, laden with the greatest riches.—The laborer is worthy of his hire; or, those who publish the gospel should live by the gospel.

Starke:—The kingdom of Christ is not earthly, nor of this world, but consists of heavenly and spiritual treasures.—The office of the ministry is not a trade.—Quesnel:—What it is to have neither gold nor silver in our scrips, but to have them in our hearts.—A true minister of the gospel is not hindered by anything in his mission, but is ever ready to go.—Duty of the Church to maintain its ministers.

Gerlach:—Disinterestedness one of the great characteristics of the servants of Christ.—The grace of God is free, even though it be communicated by the instrumentality of man.

Heubner:—Go not whither inclination carries, but whither God sends you.—The greed of Gehazi punished.—Ministers must not seek their own ease or advancement.


[12] Matthew 10:5.—[Εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ὰπέλθητε. Ewald: Hin zu Heiden ziehet nicht; Lange: Gehet nicht abwärts auf die Strause der Heiden; Campbell, Norton: Go not away to Gentiles; Conant: Go not away to Gentiles (omitting the article); the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union: Go not into the way to the Gentiles; ὁδὸς ἐθνων = Heidenweg, i. e., way to the heathen.—P. S.]

[13] Matthew 10:8.—The words: νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε are wanting in Codd. E., F., K., L., M., etc., in many transl., and fathers, and hence omitted by Scholz and Tisc endorf. But they are supported by the important Codd. B., C., D. [and Cod. Sinait.], and old versions, and the omission may be easily explained from the fact that no raising of the dead occurred on this first mission. Griesbach and Lachmann [also Alford in the fourth edition] give the words after θεραπεύετε. [This is the proper order of the oldest MSS. including the Cod. Sinait, and hence Lange correctly translates: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, etc. So also Dr. Conant, and the N. T. of the Am. Bible Union.—P. S.]

[14] Matthew 10:9.—[Εἰς τὰς ζώνας; Lange: Gürtel (-taschen).]

[15] Matthew 10:10.—[More literally: sandals, ὑποδήματα. But Lange retains the more popular: Schuhe.]

[16] Matthew 10:10.—[Dr. Conant: “The Received Text, after Stephens’ 3d ed. of 1550, has correctly ῥάβδον in the sing., as in our vernacular version from Wiclif’s to the Bishops’ Bible. King James’ revisers, following the false reading of the Complutensian and of Stephens’ first and second editions, give the plural: staves; perhaps to avoid an imaginary discrepancy with Mark 5:8.” Dr Lange adopts the singular.—P. S.]

[17] Matthew 10:10.—[Lange: Unterhalt, sustenance; Conant: living. The Greek τροφή includes all that is necessary for support or sustenance of life.—P. S.]

Verses 11-15

3. Special Direction of the Apostles to pious households. Reception and Rejection. Matthew 10:11-15

11And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12And when ye come into a [the, τήν] house, salute it. 13And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.


Matthew 10:11. Inquire who in it is worthy.—A still further limitation. They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to inquire who among them were worthy, i. e., susceptible, or pious Israelites. This question could only be answered according to objective marks, as the Searcher of hearts alone knew their state and disposition.

And there abide.—Continuance in a place, the formation of a centre, so to speak, in opposition to transient and broken activity.

Matthew 10:12. And when ye come into the housei. e., the house of him who is worthy (Meyer)—salute it.—The common Eastern salutation had in this instance a twofold meaning;—1. being an offer of spiritual fellowship in the peace which they bring to the worthy; 2. being addressed to the whole household, for the sake of the worthy person who was at the head of it.

And if the house be worthy.—Not of your salutation (Fritzsche), but of your abiding (Meyer).—Let your peace come upon it.—The Lord Himself ratifies by His peace, their salutation of peace.—Let your peace return to you;—i. e., it shall be taken from that household, and returned to you. That household itself shall become poorer, but the disciples shall be all the richer and more joyous. But the expression also indicates that no further fellowship should be held with such households, Isaiah 55:11.

Matthew 10:14. And whosoever.—The word, whosoever, refers to persons who were worthy, as being the representatives of worthy households and towns. The meaning, however, is not, that on the first failure they were to avoid a house or a town, but, that if they were personally not received, they should leave first the household, and then the town. Of course, even the first failure would appear ominous, as the disciples had previously made the necessary inquiries. “To shake off the dust of the feet,—a sign of contempt, as in the case of the heathen. The Jews taught, pulverem terrœ ethnicœ ex contactu inquinare. Lightfoot, Horœ, 331. Mishna, Surenhusius vi. Wetstein, comp. Acts 13:21.” Meyer. But the action must be regarded rather as symbolical of complete cessation of all fellowship, of renunciation of all influence, and hence as an announcement of impending judgment, but not as a mark of contempt. The explanations of de Wette—“have nothing to do with them,” and of Ewald—“calmly, as if nothing had happened,” fall far short of the import of the passage.

Matthew 10:15. The land of Sodom;—i. e., the inhabitants of those doomed cities. The higher the spiritual offer rejected, the greater their sin. In Sodom, only the weak testimony of Lot had been heard; but to reject the Evangelists, marked the climax of guilt (Matthew 11:20; Luke 12:47).—Unbelief is a second fall (John 3:36).


1. These directions of the Lord imply a telling argument against extreme individualism, and for the extension of the gospel blessings over whole households. The Lord sends His disciples to worthy heads of families, and, through them, to their whole households. On account of the worthiness of the head of the family, the whole household is generally received into spiritual fellowship. And although there may be divisions in the house with reference to Christ Matthew 10:35, even these prove that, in itself and in its nature, the family must be regarded as a spiritual unit. Nowhere do we meet in such cases with a distinction of believing and indifferent persons, but only with that of believing and unbelieving; it is not majors or minors, but friends or foes of Jesus. The latter break up the natural unity and fellowship of the family. Thus the proto-evangel was destined for the house of Adam; the ark contained the household of Noah (although Ham formed one of them); the promise was to Abraham and his household; and circumcision was the bond of unity for the house of Israel. Similarly, the Apostles planted the Church in believing families (Acts 10:0; Acts 16:0; 1 Corinthians 1:16). The question, whether in every case children were baptized or not, is comparatively of little importance. The Anabaptist principle overlooks the Divine institution of the family, and its import in the Church, the interchange between spiritual and natural communion, and the idea of extended personality, the germ of the Church, which every apostolic household formed (1 Corinthians 7:14).

2. First rule: To inquire for those who are worthy (not to go by haphazard). Second rule: To salute a worthy household—to receive them into the fellowship of evangelical peace. Promise; comfort. Third rule: To break off fellowship, and to announce judgment, in case they were not received. Yet not rashly. It is said, “Whosoever shall not receive you” (i. e., decided rejection), “nor hear your words” (where this also is decided), then only, etc.—Hence, either the baptism of the Spirit or that of fire [of judgment]. One of the two must come.


First object of interest to the messengers of Christ when entering a city or town.—Apostolical inquiry for the best lodgings.—We may learn even from unbelievers who are the pious.—Who is worthy of Christ’s message of peace?—How Christ has converted the common salutation into an evangelical message of peace.—“There abide till ye go thence.”—The disciples sent to the family.—To salute the house, means to receive it into fellowship.—The salutation of the disciples is the blessing of the Master.—The gracious house.—Your peace shall return to you: 1. Unbelievers will not keep it; 2. it will be added to the believing messengers: they shall not be cast down, but encouraged.—To shake off the dust of the feet, as the expression of solemn separation: 1. An expression of calmness, of freedom, and of purity; 2. of being innocent of the judgment which shall befall the unbelievers; 3. of the cessation of fellowship; 4. the last sermon, a threatening of judgment.—The rejection of the gospel: the judgment.—Solemn import of hours and days of grace.—Different degrees of guilt and of judgment.

Starke:—Quesnel: Ministers should love to take up their abode with pious people.—Majus: The treasures of the gospel must not be forced upon people.—Osiander: Contempt of the gospel destroys realms and countries, and plunges them into everlasting misery.

Lisco:—They were to remain satisfied with the house in which they were, and not to leave it merely for the sake of more ease and comfort in another.—They were not to intrude themselves.

Gerlach:—Your peace will return to you: a comfort for the laborers in the vineyard.—Dust off the feet. Luther: Ye shall take nothing at all from them, that they may know that you had sought not your own advantage, but their salvation.

Heubner:—God has His children in every place.—We must seek them out.—Pious people soon find out each other.—Ministers must appeal to the sympathies of those who are susceptible.—Christ regards the rejection of His disciples as that of His own word and person.

Verses 16-18

4. Trials waiting the Messengers of Jesus. “Among wolves.” Matthew 10:16-18

16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless [simple]18 as doves. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils [συνέδρια, spiritual tribunals], and they will scourge you in their synagogues [as supposed heretics]; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings [secular tribunals]19 for my sake, for a testimony [μαρτύριον] against [to] them and the Gentiles [αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν].


Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth.—We note the gradation by which Christ prepares His disciples for persecution. 1. They were not to expect enrichment, but to obtain subsistence; 2. they were to expect rejection; they were to anticipate that even terrible persecutions would befall them. This, however, only after He had announced the judgment impending over unbelievers. “Behold, I send you.” The Lord rapidly passes to the painful experience awaiting them. “The emphasis rests on ἐγώ: I am He who sends you into such dangerous circumstances.” Meyer. But the expression also implies the gracious protection which would attend them (Theophylact, Beza, Bengel).

In the midst of wolves: ἐν μέσῳ, not εἰς, into, etc.20—The disciples are not sent to the wolves as such, but in the midst of wolves, in order to seek out those who would receive the kingdom. The meekest and most defenceless messengers of peace are commissioned to execute their work among the most furious, powerful, and, as it would appear to man, unconquerable opponents of the truth. Even at this early stage, Christ opens to their view the sufferings which awaited them as Apostles, that so they might courageously, and yet carefully, go forth into the world. Sheep in the midst of wolves are to all human appearance wholly lost;—what, then, were they to do? The wolves here signify not only cunning, but also malignant disposition and hatred of truth and of Christ; for it is the favorite chase of wolves to break into a herd of sheep. But here the old story is reversed: a few sheep invade the territory of wolves.

In the midst of these wolves, the sheep were, so to speak, to become transformed into serpents and doves; i. e., to deport themselves with the wisdom of serpents, and the simplicity or harmlessness of doves. In virtue of the former quality, they would be able to avoid persecution without incurring guilt; in virtue of the latter, to encounter persecution without compromising their principles. These qualities are opposed to each other; they never occur combined in nature, nor in the natural disposition of man. But the Spirit of Christ combines in higher unity these natural antagonisms. The serpent slips innumerable times from the hand of the pursuer, and the dove does not settle in any unclean place,—it approaches him who is gentle, and will never do harm to the persecutor; its safety lies in flying upward. Lastly, the dove is a symbol of the soul rising in prayer and faith, and ultimately rising above death and the grave.21

Matthew 10:17. But beware of men.—In order to occupy a right position with reference to persecutors, you must beware of men generally, whose weakness frequently degenerates into treachery.—The councils, or Sanhedrim, were the spiritual judicatories connected with the synagogues of the country, where the sentence of scourging pronounced upon heretics was executed. (Comp. Winer [and W. Smith], sub Synagogues.)

Matthew 10:18. But also before governors and kings.—A gradation. They are to be brought not only before spiritual, but also before secular judges, as if they were common criminals. The ἡγεμόνες, governors, were the provincial authorities, consisting of the Proprætors, the Proconsuls, and the Procurators. The term kings embraces the rulers of Palestine, of other countries, and of the Roman Empire. In short, the passage applies to all civil magistrates and rulers.

For a testimony.—These trials will result in a testimony of the Lord, their martyrdom being the highest spiritual confirmation of the Gospel both to the Jews and to the Gentiles. Such was the final object of these persecutions, applying, as Meyer rightly suggests, to their testimony both before secular and spiritual judges. We also agree with Him in referring the word αὐτοῖς to the Jews, and not the governors and kings, who were themselves the Gentiles. Accordingly, we have the following succession—first, martyrdom to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. The Jews are here the representatives of all the later sufferings of the Christians, as, indeed, the Judaizing spirit in the Middle Ages was the real cause of the persecutions of believers during that period. Meyer rejects the explanation εἰς ἕλεγχον αὐτῶν, proposed by Chrysostom. But we must bear in mind that the ἕλεγχος is the effect of the μαρτύριον,—to the one, to repentance; and to the others, who hardened themselves, to judgment.


1. The Lord here sets before us the essential characteristics of true martyrdom, by which we may judge every martyrdom which has taken place. One inference at least is plain, viz., that martyrdom cannot be avoided by any exercise of wisdom or caution. Such, then, is the certain prospect opened to faithful witnesses. But the object of their sufferings is correspondingly glorious. Their martyrdom was to serve to Jews and Gentiles as the final confirmation of the gospel, and hence to manifest its highest effects.
2. The Sanhedrims, or spiritual tribunals, whether composed of great or of small hierarchs, have always been in the van in the persecution of evangelists. (The theologians of Jena, in 1561, were wont to say of the Lutheran consistories, that in Rome there was only one Pope, but in Weimar, nine!) Then come the synagogues, or the historical religious associations. At last, the act of real treason ensues, when spiritual matters are handed over to secular judges (according to the hypocritical principle: ecclesia non sitit sanguinem), and governors and kings, incited by a furious rabble, become persecutors of the truth. What then? Beware of men: of men in their inhuman human passions.

3. What Christ here predicted to His disciples (including Judas), He Himself first experienced.

4. A life-picture of fanaticism in the people. Matthew 10:21 follows a life-picture of fanaticism in the family.


Christ sends His witnesses as sheep in the midst of wolves: 1. Apparent hopelessness of the mission (sheep, wolves); 2. the miraculous deliverance (like serpents, like doves).—How the councils of the Jews and the scourging in the synagogues were re-enacted in the Middle Ages (the Inquisition, torture, Crusades).—Martyrdom, as predicted by the Lord: 1. Its development; 2. its certainty; 3. its glorious aim.—The contrast between martyrdom and fanaticism.—All fanaticism is unchristian, and becomes at last antichristian, even where it professes to defend the cause of Christ.

Starke:—The cross, not outward prosperity, the sign of the true Church.—Gerhard: Sit serpentinus oculus in corde columbino.—Even to this day, the witnesses of Christ are charged with sedition and heresy.—Quesnel: A minister must not be afraid to tell the truth even to kings.22—What comfort in persecutions, that we suffer for Christ’s sake!

Gossner:—Patience under persecution for Christ’s sake is the greatest mark of true discipleship, greater even than miracles. It is itself the greatest miracle. The devil may imitate miracles, but he cannot inspire patience.

Heubner:—In a certain sense, this applies to all Christians: they are in this world as sheep in the midst of wolves.—The people of God ever cherish kindly, trustful, and affectionate feelings; but are met on every side by malice.—Christians who are innocently condemned by worldly tribunals, may feel themselves infinitely superior to them: time shall be, when they will be the judges of their accusers.—God often so disposes it, that preachers of righteousness, who otherwise would not have access to princes, should be brought before them in bonds.


[18] Matthew 10:16.—[̓Ακέραιοι, etym. (from κεράννυμι and α privativum) unmixed, simple, pure. So Meyer after the Etym. Mag.: ὁ μὴ κεκραμένος κακοῖς, ἀλλ̓ ἁπλοῦς καὶ�. Comp. Romans 16:19; Philippians 2:15. Lange: ohne Falsch, and in parenthesis, arglos, rein. Bengel, however, in loc, explains ἀκέραιοι, “sine cornu, ungula, dente, aculeo: innoxii active, atque adeo etiam passive.”—P. S.]

[19] Matthew 10:18.—[The proper order after the Greek, as observed in Lange’s German version, would require this change “But also before governors and kings shall ye be brought,” καὶ ἐπὶ ὴγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς�.—P. S.]

[20][So also Bengel, Gnomon in loc.: “ὲν μέσω, in medio: non in medium. Tam estis inter lupos.” Maldonatus, on the contrary, confounds the two prepositions here: “In medium, ἐν pro εὶς, sicut Hebraice בְּ pro בְּקֶרֶב ,אֶל.—P. S.]

[21][Wordsworth, quoting from Hilary and Jerome: “It is said that the serpent shows his wisdom in guarding his head, whatever other part of his body is struck. So let us be ready to sacrifice anything but our faith; or, let us guard our head. Christ.” The innocence of the dove, says Jerome is shown in likeness to the Holy Ghost.—P. S.]

[22][Quesnel adds what Starke and Lunge omit: “but with abundance of prudence” (with the wisdom of the serpent). He who flatters them, makes himself an accomplice of their sins.”—P. S.]

Verses 19-20

5. Care about their Defence. Matthew 10:19-20

19But when they deliver you up,23 take no [anxious]24 thought how or what ye shall speak: for25 it shall be given you in that same hour [in that hour] what ye shall speak. 20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.


Matthew 10:19. How or what.—The form and the substance; πῶςἥ τί.—We might have expected that the latter would have been first mentioned; but, in planning an address, the first care is always about the form. [Bengel: “Ubi τὸ quid obtigit, τὸ quomodo non deest.… Spiritus non loquitur sine verbis. Dabo vobis os et sapientiam, Luke 21:15.”—P. S.]

Matthew 10:20. [It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, etc.—An indirect argument for the inspiration of the apostolic writings. For if the Holy Spirit suggested their oral testimony of Christ, He filled them still more in the act of writing, since books are permanent, and can be read by all. Comp. John 15:26-27.—Your Father.—It is remarkable that our Lord never says our Father, except in the Lord’s Prayer, which He taught His disciples, but My Father, or your Father; for He is the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father, we are children by adoption through faith in Him.—P. S.]


1. In captivity, a person would naturally feel anxious how to defend himself, especially if he were to appear before the great, the learned, or the powerful of this world. The desire to speak well would be all the stronger, that they were deeply conscious of their innocence, and hence felt no concern on that point. But Christ knew better than any other how studied eloquence restrains and obstructs, perhaps even suppresses, the warm outgushings of the heart; how anxiety to hit upon the right word may suppress the faith from which alone that right word can flow; and how deep spiritual life quickens and calls into being appropriate exercises of the mind, so that, in every situation of life, we shall find both the right thought and the right word. Compare the speech of Paul against Tertullus in Acts 25:0.

2. It shall be given you. This is further explained by, “for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father.” The contrast is absolute, and so is the doctrine of inspiration which results from it. All personal anxiety must disappear in the anticipation of the Spirit of the Father, who overrules all the events of life, and can not only fill His people with joy and peace, but elevate them to moral heroism. But when we say that all self and self-seeking are completely to cease, we do not mean that our intellectual faculties are to be overpowered and bound by a foreign influence (as in Montanism), but only that they are to be set free from all lower motives, and to be spiritually raised and quickened. Hence the inspiration promised will be of a moral rather than of a psychical character. For the removal of all selfishness and self-seeking implies, at the same time, the full development of the deepest spiritual motives and views. The Lord presents these future events as immediately impending, because the conduct of the disciples, when imprisoned, depends on their general relationship to the Father, which had already commenced at that time. Comp. Calvin’s reply to the confessors of the gospel imprisoned at Paris, in Henry’s Calvin, 1:467.

3. The inference of the inspiration of Scripture, derived from this and similar passages, is quite legitimate. Only, that the great point in inspiration is the τί, to which the πῶς is quite subordinate. Hence, in the promise given, we read only of the τί, not of the πῶς. Similarly, the promise is simply δοθήσεται τί λαλήσετε, not λαλήσητε.


The prohibition of carefulness about answering before councils, in its relation to the general prohibition of carefulness, Matthew 6:34.—Carefulness may reappear, even in the Christian life, in the guise of piety, or in that of official zeal.—Take no thought for the how and the what, and the what shall supply the how.—Carefulness about rhetorical ornaments,26 in its dangers: 1. It springs from anxiety, and restrains the spiritual life; 2. it manifests itself by excitement and excess, and adulterates the spiritual life; 3. it leads to weariness or self-seeking, and destroys the spiritual life.—The putting aside of every false preparation, as giving place to true preparation: prayer, meditation, and inward conflict (oratio, meditatio, tentatio). For it is not you, etc. 1. An instruction as to the inspiration of the word by the Spirit of God; 2. an admonition not to put in our own word; 3. a promise that the Lord will speak by us.—When the orator has wholly disappeared, the True Orator shall appear.

Heubner:—Consciousness of innocence, and of the goodness of the cause in which we are engaged, is the best defence.—A Christian will leave his defence to God.—A Christian must not shape his own course, but leave himself to the guidance of God; there should always be quietness and Sabbath-rest in his soul.—The Holy Ghost the Comforter of the simple.—Proper sermons are they which are given by the Holy Ghost, not those which are artificially constructed.

Verses 21-22

6. Severity of the impending Persecution, to the extent of breaking the bonds of Natural Relationship. Greatness of the Persecution, its measure, and glorious end. Matthew 10:21-22

21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child:27 and the children shall rise up against their parents,28 and cause them to be put to death. 22And ye shall be hated of [by] all men29 for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Matthew 10:21. Will rise up, ἐπ αναστή σονται.—The verb means insurrection in the strictest sense,—being in this case equally directed against parental authority and the Spirit of Christ. This inward rebellion leads to the corresponding outward sin of parricide, either by delivering up parents to the magistrates, or by inciting fanatical vengeance. Again, the brother and the father show their hatred to their brother or child by the παραδιδόναι, or delivering them up to death—a term which also implies treason and vileness.

Matthew 10:22. Ye shall be hated by all.—This strong expression (though without the article) indicates the generality of the hatred toward Christ. It will spread over the world like an infectious fever, or a pestilence, and furnish the material with which, on any given occasion, the fire of persecution may be lit up.

For My name’s sake;—i. e., purely on account of their Christian profession, and not on account of the personal blemishes and errors which may mingle with it.

But he that endureth—viz., faithful to his profession—to the end.—To the individual, the end is martyrdom by death, or else deliverance; to the Church as a whole, the end is the complete victory of its distinctive confession of Christ over the hatred of the world. In both these respects sufferings shall have an end. There are different interpretations of the expression εἰςτέλος (the end of these sufferings; of life; the destruction of Jerusalem, etc.).30Shall be saved.—Here very emphatically, absolutely σωθήσεται. The end of this way is salvation (Luke 21:19), while every side-path leads to destruction.


Christianity is based on a new spiritual relationship, and its effects—of love or of hatred—are much stronger and wider than the natural bonds which connect human society. Hence hatred of the gospel assumes a demoniac shape, and wickedly dissolves all the sacred bonds of nature. But even this fearful outburst must not shake the confidence of believers in the holy Name which they profess. It only serves to convince them of the depth of human corruption. In the name of Christ they shall ultimately succeed in transforming the natural bonds which connect man to man, and by the love of Christ shall they overcome the hatred of the world. Not that Christianity itself endangers the bonds of natural relationship, but that it becomes the innocent occasion of such hatred. But here also the name of Christ shall prevail, and a higher bond of unity shall bind together His own.


Hatred of Christ is necessarily murderous in its character,—1. because Christ is life; 2. because sin is real death.—The two great forms in which hatred of Christ appears, are betrayal and rebellion.—Profession of Christ revealing the deep ruin of the world, as apparent in the hatred of Jesus and His people.—The hatred and persecution of the gospel an evidence of its power and loftiness.—Fanaticism in its relation to faith: 1. It dissolves all the bonds of life and of love, but imputes the blame of it to faith; 2. it leads a man to acts of betrayal, of rebellion, and of murder, while he imagines that he is offering services acceptable to God; 3. it institutes a community of hatred in opposition to the community of love, and mistakes the fire of hell for a sacred flame of heaven; 4. it appears in the guise of religion, but for the purpose of banishing Christ and His religion from the earth.—Final preservation of all things in Christ, despite the enmity of the world. 1. The family and friendship shall be preserved, though dissolved in various ways; 2. humanity, despite its enmity; 3. our own life, although we surrender it.—“But he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”—Faithfulness to the Lord the condition of safety.

Starke:—There is no hatred in the world so great as that against Christ and His members.—The world imputes every evil to Christians, although itself is the sole cause of it.—God has put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

Lisco:—In measure as these sufferings are painful, the reward is glorious. 1. The sufferings: a. persecution by our nearest relatives; b. general hatred. 2. The reward: deliverance, blessedness.

Heubner:—It is evidence of the highest love to renounce love for the sake of Christ.


[23] Matthew 10:19.—[Dr. Lange reads with Codd. B., E., Sinait., etc., and Lachmann παραδῶσιν, tradiderint, instead of παραδιδῶσιν, tradent.—P. S.]

[24] Matthew 10:19.—[Μὴ μεριμνήσητε. Comp. the exegetical note on Matthew 6:25, p. 133, and the remark of Maldonatus in loc.: “Non omnem prœcedentem meditationem vetat; sed eam quœ diffldentiam divinœ providentiœ et opis habeat, quœque nimio metu ac sollicitudine liberam Evangelii prœdicutionem impediat” Bengel: “Una, non Scurandi, cura sit. Non omnis prœparatio ex eo nobis prohibetur. 1 Timothy 4:15; coll. Luke 21:14; 1 Corinthians 14:26.”—P. S.]

[25] Matthew 10:19.—Some Codd., D., L., al., omit the words from δοθήσεται to λαλήσετε, probably misled by the similarity of sound with the preceding.

[26][In German: Geistliche Schönrednerei, for which know no English equivalent.—P. S.]

[27] Matthew 10:21.—[Dr. Conant omits the art. as in Greek, and renders: “And brother will (for shall) deliver up brother to death, and father child.” But the latter clause shows that it will not do in English. The N. T. of the Am. Bible Union has restored the article before every noun. Lange also gives the art.—P. S. ]

[28] Matthew 10:21.—[Here where the plural is used, it is better to omit the art.: children will rise up against parents τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς. So Conant, N. T. of the A. B. U., Lange (Kinder gegen Eltern).—P. S.]

[29] Matthew 10:22.—[The interpolated men of the C. V. is quite unnecessary.—P. S.]

[30][“Enduring to the end” is the proper evidence of the reality and solidity of the Christian profession, “drawing back unto perdition” exposes the want of foundation. It often occurs in connection with similar warnings, Matthew 24:13 (he that shall endure unto the end); 1 Corinthians 1:8 (confirm you unto the end); Hebrews 3:6 (firm unto the end); Matthew 3:14 (steadfast unto the end); Matthew 6:11; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 10:26-29; Revelation 2:26 (who keepeth my works unto the end). The phrase has therefore obviously a universal applicability to all believers, and to the end of individual life (τέλος = finis vitœ) But this does not exclude a special reference to great future epochs in a prophetical discourse like this (comp. Matthew 10:23). Hence τέλος may be referred directly to the destruction of Jerusalem (comp. Matthew 10:23; Matthew 24:13), and indirectly to the final judgment which was foreshadowed and typified by the former. So σωθήσεται, likewise, was literally fulfilled in the timely escape of the Christians from the doomed city by Divine admonition, and will be absolutely fulfilled in the everlasting salvation. Compare the prophetic discourses of the Saviour in Matthew 24:0 and Commentary.—P. S.]

Verse 23

7. Flight in Persecution, the means of spreading Christianity.

First warning and comfort. Matthew 10:23

23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another [the other, εἰς τὴν ἅλλην]:31 for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come [shall have come].


Matthew 10:23. For verily, ἀμὴνγάρ.—The γάρ here is of the greatest importance. The flight of an Apostle from a city where general persecution had arisen, was in reality not flight, but removal to a larger sphere of usefulness. This duty may be deduced from the fundamental principle formerly enjoined, of turning away from those who were hardened, and addressing themselves more and more to those who were impressible.—“Shake off the dust of your feet.” But, on the other hand, this alone must be the motive for their flight. Subordinate considerations (such as employment, home, etc.) must not retain, nor fear of suffering drive them away. Their flight must be determined by concern for the best means of spreading the name of Christ, that so the natural instinct of self-preservation may be transformed into a spiritual principle.

Ye shall not have gone over, ended, finished, completed, οὐ μὴ τελέσητε.—Scarcely equivalent to, “Ye shall not have been in all the cities.” Meyer.—“To bring them to Christian perfection.” Maldonatus, Hoffmann, etc. The expression implies an active finishing of their mission. Hence the interpretation of Meyer is too narrow; that of Maldonatus, too wide. The meaning is: ye shall have abundant room for your labors.

Shall have come, ἕλθῃ.—1. Until the victory of the cause of Christ (Baumgarten-Crusius); 2. to the destruction of Jerusalem (Michaelis, etc.); 3. to the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit (Calvin and others); 4. till help shall have been afforded by the Son of Man (Chrysostom); 5. till the second coming of Christ (Meyer). But the commentators forget that the Apostles only preceded Christ, and that this passage refers in the first place to that particular mission. Hence we explain it: till the Son of Man shall overtake you. (So also Heubner.) The expression is, however, also symbolical, and applies to the Church generally. In this sense, it points forward to the second coming of Christ; including at the same time the idea, that their apostolic labors in Judæa would be cut short by the judgment impending upon Jerusalem.


1. Having set before the disciples the sufferings and dangers of their work, the Lord now encourages and comforts them. The verse under consideration furnishes the first consolation. Their sufferings would be diminished from the higher obligation incumbent on them to spread the gospel, whereby flight became a sacred duty.
2. “But what constitutes their highest comfort in this respect, is the promise, that the witnesses of Christ shall always find new spheres of labor, and that the Lord shall ever follow them, both with the baptism of the Spirit and of grace, and with that of fire and of judgment.” The fundamental idea of this statement, so far as the kingdom of heaven is concerned, is, that the work of Christ shall not be completed by quiet and calm progress, until the last place and the last individual shall have been converted, but by great contests between light and darkness, and amid great catastrophes which shall usher in the judgment.
3. If it be asked, how this direction can be reconciled with the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem, where, as He knew, death awaited Him; we reply, that Christ left Galilee, where, from the hostility of the Jewish priesthood, every door was shut against Him, and went to Jerusalem, where a multitude was prepared to receive Him. In His care for the people, the Messiah readily encountered every danger, which, indeed, required to be met in the accomplishment of His work. He went to keep the feast at Jerusalem, in order to seek the lost sheep of the house of Israel in the midst of wolves. This may serve to furnish a rule and a precedent for our conduct under persecution. If we are bound by promise, by duty, by our ministry, or by the prospect of carrying out our calling, we must not flee from danger, nay, if necessary, go to meet it. But if these very motives point beyond the reach of danger, it is our duty to flee. To labor, is the object; to suffer, only the means toward it. It was an error of the Montanists to regard the obligation to suffer as paramount to that of working. Thus Tertullian (De fuga in persecutione) disapproved of flight under any circumstances, and regarded this commandment only local and temporary. In this respect, however, the Apostle Paul, and, at later periods, St. Athanasius (Apologia pro juga sua), Luther (on the Wartburg), and Calvin [who fled twice from France, and was once expelled from Geneva], may serve as our models.

[Flight in persecution, from selfish regard to personal safety and comfort, is an act of cowardice and sin; but flight from conscientious conviction of duty to God and to the Church, is right, and commanded by Christ, and sanctioned by the conduct of the Apostles and martyrs (as Polycarp and Cyprian). The ancient Church rejected the fanatical and Montanistic view of Tertullian, which condemned the flight in persecution without qualification. Augustine says, a minister may flee if his flock is scattered by flight, or if he can do more good by fleeing than by remaining (quandocumque plus fugiendo quam manendo juvare potest). Chrysostom thinks, we may flee, provided we do not thereby deny Christ, or endanger the faith; otherwise, we must risk our life for the sheep, which the hireling will not do. Maldonatus ad loc.: “Cum Evangelium ipsum, propter quod fugiendum non est, postulat ut fugiamus, fugiendum est. Tunc fugere non metus, sed pietas: non fugere non fortitudo, sed pertinacia est. Hoc de causa D. Paulum fugisse legimus. Major gloria Dei et Ecclesiœ utilitas regula nobis esse debet; cum aut utraque, aut alterutra ut fugiamus a nobis exigit, non fugere peccatum est.” Wordsworth on φεύγετε, Matthew 10:23 : “It was a question discussed in early times, whether fuga in persecutione was under any circumstances allowable. Tertullian (De fuga in persecutione) argues that our Lord’s permission was only temporary; but this is contravened by St. Jerome (Catal. Script. in Tertullian). See also Gregory Nazian. (Orat. i. in Julian.), and the excellent directions on the subject in St. Athanasius (Apol. de fuga sua, p. 258–266; cp. à Lapide). The answer seems to be given in our Lord’s words: ‘The hireling fleeth because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep’ (John 10:13). ‘The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep’ (John 10:11). If a person has a flock committed to his care, and that flock will be scattered or torn by wolves, if he flies, then he must not fly.”—Comp. Matthew 24:15-20; Philippians 1:20-25; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:25; Acts 14:6; Acts 15:38; 2 Corinthians 11:33; and Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, vol. i., p. 179.—P. S.]


In how far flight in persecution is not only lawful, but duty.—When a Christian has to flee with his Master, he may likewise flee by himself.—Holy flight: 1. Its motive; 2. its conduct; 3. its aim.—All Christianity a flight, to the end of the world: 1. From city to city; 2. from country to country; 3. from world to world (from the old to the new).—Flight an act of faith: 1. An act of Wisdom 2. an act of sparing love; 3. an act of faithfulness; 4. an act of enduring hope.—The flight of the Church, its spread.—The flight of the fearful and that of the courageous.—When the disciples are expelled from a place, they are succeeded by the judgments of the Lord.—The witnesses of Christ shall never want new spheres of usefulness, if they leave at the right time such as have been closed to their labors.—Whether to stay or to go, must in every instance be learned from the Lord.—Whithersoever we go with the gospel, Christ will follow us.—The laborers of Christ shall neither want a field nor a blessing, till the Lord comes. [Similarly Wordsworth: the missionary work of the Church will not cease till the second coming of Christ. Comp. Matthew 24:14.—P. S.]


[31] Matthew 10:23.—Griesbach with many Codd. minusc.: εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν, κἄν ἐκ ταύτης διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς, φείλετε εἰς τἡ ἄλλην. A later amplification. [Lachmann reads: εἰς τὴν ἑτέραν, and puts the words from κἄν to ἅλλην in brackets. Tischendorf, Alford, Wordsworth read simply: εἰς τὴν ἅλλην. The Cod. Sinait.: ἑτέραν. The def. art. before ἅλλην or έτέραν denotes the next city in order which had not yet been visited, and shows that there will be always some other city to fly to.—P. S.]

Verses 24-25

8. Christ has suffered Persecution before His disciples, and they only suffer along with Him. Second warning and comfort. Matthew 10:24-25

24The [A] disciple is not above his [the] master, nor the [a] servant above his lord. 25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called [surnamed]32 the master of the house Beelzebub [Beelzebul],33 how much more shall they call34 them of his household?


Matthew 10:24. The disciple is not, etc.—A proverb. See the corresponding passages in rabbinical writings in Schöttgen.

Matthew 10:25. This is enough for the disciple, in order that (ἵνα) he may be (treated), etc.; i. e., the subordination of the disciple to his teacher implies that he must share his fate. The same remark applies to the servant in reference to his lord. So Meyer, against the common explanation of the word ἵνα in this passage.

Βεελζεβούλ.—The Syrian Codd., the Itala, the Vulgate, and the Latin Fathers have Beelzebub. This, then, may be regarded as the first explanation of the term—as equivalent to בַּעַל זְבוּב (2 Kings 1:2), the fly-god. The second explanation is furnished by Winer as follows: “By a Jewish pun, this name was, by the change of a letter, converted into בַּעַל זְבוּל (בְּעֵל, Chaldee), i. e., dominus stercoris, lord of dung, in a manner analogous to that in which Συχέμ was turned into Συχάρ. It is very natural that the later Jews, in their burning hatred of heathenism, transferred the name of a celebrated idol in their neighborhood on Satan.” Accordingly, Lightfoot, Buxtorf, and most modern critics explain it as the name of Satan, being the prince of all impurity. A third interpretation renders זְבוּל by habitation, and Beelzebul by dominus domicilii. This means,—a. according to Gusset, Michaelis, and Meyer: lord of the kingdom of darkness, where the evil spirits dwell; b. according to Paulus: lord of Tartarus; c. according to Jahn: prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2); according to Movers: Saturn as holding a castle in the seventh heaven.—With reference to the first interpretation, it is enough to say, that most of the readings are opposed to the form Beelzebub. It is evidently an exegetical explanation of the name Beelzebul from Beelzebub, the god of the Philistines, to whom the chasing away of flies was imputed.—Against the second explanation it is urged, that the word for mud or dirt is זֶבֶל, not זְבוּל. Winer indeed, suggests that uncommon forms are occasionally used in a play upon words. Still, they must have some warrant in the use of the language. Besides, Meyer rightly calls attention to the fact, that the word Βεελζεβούλ bears reference to the expression οἰκοδεσπότης, which Christ had here chosen. Hence, “lord of the habitation.”35 Perhaps, then, this designation of Satan may refer to the habitation of demons in the possessed. The parallel passage in Matthew 12:0, where the Pharisees say ( Matthew 10:24): “This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebul, the prince of the devils,” seems in favor of this view. The Lord Himself afterward characterizes the rule of the demons over the possessed under the biblical expression of “dwellers in a house” ( Matthew 10:25; Matthew 10:29; and especially Matthew 12:45, “They enter in and dwell there”). If this be the correct interpretation of the term, it will also explain how it does not otherwise occur in Jewish writings. The enemies of the Lord charged Him with casting out devils through the prince of the devils, whom they in derision called Beelzebul (Matthew 9:34; Matthew 12:24). Jesus comments upon this in the following manner: The Pharisees designate as the prince of the devilish possession the Master of the house, who rightfully claims the heart of man as His dwelling (Matthew 12:29), and casts out the usurper, who occasionally performed cures of demoniacs, for the purpose of blinding his victims. Hence the expression Beelzebul would refer only to the prince of devils who take possession of men on earth, not to the prince of evil spirits generally. Christ paraphrased the fact, that they stigmatized Him as acting under the inspiration of Beelzebul, by saying that He had been called Beelzebul because His enemies asserted that Satan had virtually devolved on Him the supremacy over demons. The expression is used in a sense similar to that in which the terms Satan and Antichrist occur in 2 Thessalonians 2:0. This may serve as a sufficient answer to those who ask, When the Jews had called Christ Beelzebul. Comp. Matthew 12:24; John 8:48. Similarly, it explains the inference drawn by the Lord: How much more them of His household? If the Jews had designated Christ as the prince of devils absolutely, that name could not have been applied to His household. But if they meant that He was the author and patron of demoniac possession, they might apply this even more boldly to His Apostles. Undoubtedly, however, the term bears also some reference to the god of the Philistines. Perhaps the connection may be traced in the following manner: As Beelzebul was supposed to banish, but also to bring, the plague of flies, so Jesus was accused of expelling demons, because He was the lord of their habitation.


Christ, the Lord of the kingdom of heaven, who sends the Holy Ghost, the rightful Master of the human heart, is characterized by His enemies as prince of the kingdom of darkness, acting under the inspiration of Satan, the chief of the demons, or as Antichrist. Similarly, the disciples of Jesus cannot expect other than that their activity shall be characterized as demoniacal and antichristian.


“The disciple is not above his Master:” this the watchword of Christ’s faithful witnesses: 1. As to their conduct. They are subordinate in everything to Christ. 2. In their sufferings. Every true disciple must be willing to share the rejection of his Master.—“The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord:” this is sufficient comfort when misunderstood or misrepresented: 1. As a disciple, he feels that if the Master’s work has been calumniated, he need expect no better; 2. as a servant, he feels that if the Lord of the house was stigmatized as a diabolical destroyer, he need not wonder if his service in the Church or to individuals is traduced.—It is a sad, yet an effectual, consolation to the witnesses of Christ when they are calumniated, that their Lord and Master was called Beelzebul.—Christ passes through the blasphemies of His enemies unharmed, as through a mist; let His people follow Him joyously.—Satan condemning himself even when he blasphemes. He must,—1. call that devilish which is divine; 2. he must represent as divine what is devilish.

Starke:—What comfort and honor, that Christ is the Master of the house, and His people its members!—Cramer: Ministers must, in the discharge of their office, have regard to God and the truth of the gospel, not to the threats of men.

Heubner:—The example of Christ is the most blessed encouragement.


[32] Matthew 10:25.—̓Ε π εκάλεσεν, B., C., [Cod. Sinait.] Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Alford, Wordsworth. Meyer regards the εκάλεσεν of the Elzevir text as an arbitrary substitution of the more usual verb.—]

[33] Matthew 10:25.—[Βεελζεβούλ is the true reading, adopted by Tischendorf, Lachmann, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth, Conant, Lange. The E. V. notes it in the margin. Comp. Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[34] Matthew 10:25.—[This interpolation is unnecessary.—]

[35][For this reason Alford, also, adopts Meyer’s derivation, while Wordsworth adheres to Winer’s interpretation: dominus stercoris.—P. S.]

[36] Matthew 10:28.—[Lachmann and Tischendorf read: μὴ φοβεῖσθε� (imper. præs. pass.) nolite timere, metuere ab iis, on the authority of Codd. B., C., (to which may be added Cod. Sinait., which reads twice. in Matthew 10:28; Matthew 10:31 : φοβισθε, a mere writing error for φοβεῖσθε). But Cod. B. or Vatieanus, as published by Angelo Mai, reads: μὴ φοβηθῆτε� (conjunct. aor. i. pass.), and in the more correct edition of Buttmann, with different accentuation: μὴ φοβήθητε� (imperat. aor. i. pass.). So also Cod. Alexandrinus, as published by B. H. Cowper, Lond., 1960 (φοβηθῆτε), Origen, and, of modern critics, Alford (φοβήθητε), Fritzsche and Conant (φοβηθῆτε). Meyer explains φοβηθῆτε from Matthew 10:24 and reads also in Matthew 10:31 φοβεῖτθε with B., D., L., Cod. Sinait, Lachmann, and Tischendorf. The main point for the sense, however, is the difference in the construction, the ἀπό after the first φοβεῖσθε and the acc. τόν after the second, concerning which the critical authorities are all agreed. In English this difference can be best reproduced by translating in the first case: be not afraid of, and in the other: fear him. See Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

Verses 26-31

9. Holy boldness and candor the duty of the disciples, based on holy watchfulness, and on confidence in their safety, under the sovereign protection of God.

Third and fourth warning and comfort. Matthew 10:26-31.

26Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered [concealed, verhüllt], that shall not be revealed [enthüllt]; and hid [versteckt], that shall not be known [entdeckt]. 27What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in [the, τῷ] light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops. 28And fear not [Be not afraid of, μὴ φοβεῖσθε�]36 them which [that] kill37 the body, but are not able to kill the soul:

But rather fear him [φοβεῖσθε τόν] which [who] is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing [penny]38? and one of them shall not [not one of them shall] fall on the ground without your Father. 30But the very hairs of your head39 are all numbered. 31Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.


Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore.—Because every calumny of their faith was in the first place directed against their Master, who will set everything in its true light Confidence in His παρουσία is to form the ground of their perfect παρ̀ῥησία. All the wicked secrets of their opponents shall be brought to light; it would, therefore, be most unbecoming if they were to spread their faith, the most precious of all secrets, with timidity and by stealth,40 as if it were some dangerous mystery.

For there is nothing covered, etc.—These two proverbial sayings or principles are apparently intended to supplement each other. The first of them refers probably to the dealings of God: He conceals and He reveals. The second refers to the conduct of man in connection with the dealings of God: men hide and conceal the truth, but it will be discovered, known, and acknowledged. The appearing of Christ will place everything in its proper light, Matthew 25:31; Eph 5:13; 1 Corinthians 4:5.

Matthew 10:27. What I tell you.—This means to imply that the Lord recommended to His disciples to proceed more openly in their teaching than He had done. But this was the fundamental principle of the development of His revelation. His work was to be established in His disciples before it could be established in the world. Revelation had to receive its final completion in secret, among the despised community of the cross, before it could be presented in its fulness to the world.—Upon the house-tops.—The roofs were flat, so that it was possible to converse, in a loud voice, from one house-top to another, or into the street. A figurative expression for the most public declaration.

Matthew 10:28. Fear not them that kill the body.[41]—This παῤῥησία may indeed occasion their death. But they should neither fear death nor those who kill. They kill only the body. In other words, the hope of the great appearing of Christ, which shall make everything manifest, must raise them also above the grave.

Both soul and body.—In my Life of Jesus (Matthew 2:2, p. 721), I have with Stier applied this to Satan, while most commentators refer it to God. The former interpretation I supported on the following grounds: 1. Because the same kind of fear which is felt toward those who kill the body cannot be cherished in reference to God. But here I overlooked that the expression used in the one case is φοβεῖσθε�, [comp. the Hebr. יָרֵא מִין], and in the other, φοβήθητε [φοβεῖσθε] τόν. The word φοβεῖν may also be used in reference to proper fear, and the use of the Aorist (implying the continuation of a fear already cherished), as also the accusative instead of ἀπό, are in favor of this view. 2. Because the idea of destruction of body and soul seems rather to apply to Satan. But the great enemy does not destroy soul and body in hell (ἐν γεέννῃ),42 where he and condemned souls are punished (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10), but before that time, and for the purpose of having them consigned to hell. The judgment of Gehenna is not administered by Satan. 3. Because of the expression ἀπόλλυμι, which in other places refers to noxious destruction, or to laying waste, and the name of ̓Απολλύων, “who dwells in the place of destruction.” However, the text does not bear, “Fear the destroyer,” but, “Fear Him who is able to destroy,” which could only refer to God. Finally, from the parallel passage in Luke 12:5, “Fear Him who hath power to cast into hell,” we at once conclude that this fear can only apply to the Almighty. Satan works that sinful fear of death which is the bondage from which we can only be delivered by a higher and holier fear—that of God (Hebrews 2:14).

[This change of Dr. Lange, which supersedes the protest of Meyer in loc. (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 239), is decidedly for the better. The Scripture nowhere uses the phrase φοβεῖσθαι τὸν διάβολον, nor does it ever ascribe to Satan such power of destruction; while, on the contrary, φοβεῖσθαι is usually followed by τòν θεόν, and God is represented throughout as the Almighty dispenser of life and death, both temporal and eternal. Bengel aptly quotes James 4:12, which is decisive against Stier: “There is one lawgiver who is able (ὁδυνάμενος) to save and to destroy” (ἀπολέσαι, the same words as in our passage). Christ sets God before us here as the sole object both of our godly, child-like fear, and (in Matthew 10:29-31) of our child-like trust. We should fear Him alone because of His power to destroy, and should trust Him alone because of His power to save and His ever-watchful care of His children. See Dr. Alford’s remarks against Stier, and also the note of Dr. Owen in loc.: “Fear Him (i. e., God), not as before, fear from Him, because reverence and awe, such as is due from man to his Maker, is intended, and not the fear or terror which human cruelty can inspire.”—P. S.]

Matthew 10:29. Two sparrows.—The word στρουθία properly signifies little birds generally [aviculi]; here, in the more definite sense, little sparrows [passerculi].—Farthing, penny, ἀσσάριον, the tenth part of a drachm, or a Roman denar, afterward valued still lower; indicating the smallest coin.—Not one of them shall fall to the ground.—To portray sudden death, the bird falling to the ground, struck by a stone or an arrow. Irenæus and Chrysostom refer it to the snare of the bird-catcher; but this would scarcely be so applicable.

Matthew 10:30. But the very hairs.—Indicating the most special providence (providentia specialissima), and the most absolute preservation. The hair as the natural ornament of the head. No part of our life, of what characterizes or adorns it, shall be lost.


1. The disciples must bear in mind that the gospel of Jesus is destined to become a revelation for all nations. They are to form a Church, and not a secret society, or party, or school, or political fraternity. The contrast between the secrecy which the Lord employed in teaching them, and the publicity with which they were to come forward, indicates the law according to which revelation was ever to develop and break forth more clearly and openly, and points far beyond the mission then entrusted to them.
2. They which kill the body.—(1) Psychology: body and soul; (2) doctrine of immortality; (3) eschatology: the kingdom of Christ belongs pre-eminently to the other world, beyond death and the grave. Mark also the contrast between killing the body and destroying body and soul. The soul cannot be annihilated. Lastly, it also implies the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. The bodies of the lost shall suffer with their souls in hell.43

3. Not a hair of your head shall perish without your Father, far less your head itself.—An expression implying their complete safety.—“Of more value than many sparrows.” This depends upon the διαφέρειν, and is intended to indicate the infinite superiority of the disciples over irrational creatures. The climax is as follows:—The humblest of God’s creatures have their value in His sight: how much more human beings! Especially Christians: but, above all, the witnesses of Jesus. The value of the life of Jesus is the height of the climax, but does not appear here.


The address of the Lord to His people: Fear not. 1. The fear from which we are delivered (of revilers and of murderers, of the loss of honor and of life); 2. the fear by which we are delivered (Fear Him who is able, etc.); 3. the spiritual grounds for being fearless (confidence in the great revelation of Christ, consciousness of our immortality and of our complete safety in the hands of God); the blessed effect of such fearlessness—perfect joy in bearing witness for Jesus (or in particular cases, triumph of life over death, entrance into glory).—With the manifestation of Christ’s righteousness, everything else must become manifest.—When God makes known what is hid, men can no longer succeed in concealing it.—The impending great revelation in its twofold effects: 1. As giving perfect comfort to the disciples: 2. as the greatest terror to an evil conscience.—Holy and spiritual fear will set us free from all carnal fear.—A right sense of our immortality consists in the feeling that we are perfectly safe in the keeping of our Father.—The price of articles in the market an emblem of the high price which God attaches to life.—Money, or the price which men attach, a symbol of the value which God sets.—“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?” or, the birds of the air a sermon to us, both in death and in life.—God cares for all living, after its own kind: 1. According to its life (the Living One cares for the living, the God of providence for every individual, the sympathizing Saviour pities every one); 2. according to its peculiar mode of life (for His creatures in His goodness, for persons in His love, for believers in His grace); 3. according to the object of their lives (Christ, for His own sake and for that of His people; Christians, for Christ’s and their own sakes; and all creatures, for the sake of Christians and of the kingdom of God).—“The very hairs of your head are all numbered;” or, the complete safety of Christians in the keeping of their Father: 1. Their whole life, with all that characterizes and adorns it, is safe; 2. they lose their earthly life, only to gain a higher; 3. their life, with all its gain, is bestowed on them by their Father in heaven.

Starke:—Those who fear to proclaim the whole truth are false teachers, and neither cold nor hot.—Quesnel: It is sinful to withhold the word of God from the common people. [Quesnel adds on Matthew 10:27 : “The Church has no more hidden mysteries, nor secret truths; and it is now the time to reveal all the knowledge and grace which Christ has committed to her. It is to injure religion, to imagine that it contains some truths or mysteries which ought to be concealed.”—P. S.]—Cramer: Human fear must be overcome by the fear of God.—Eternal death is the only evil which really deserves to be feared.—Quesnel: It is a sign of great blindness to allow our souls to be destroyed.—The contemplation of the providence of God a powerful means for overcoming the fear of man.—What infinite value attaches to a soul for which Jesus has shed his blood! [We add from Quesnel on Matthew 10:28 : “It is prudence to deliver up the body in order to save the soul. This is to cast the lading of the vessel into the sea, to preserve the men from destruction. A man loses nothing when he loses that only which must perish.”—P. S.]

Heubner:—Nothing in the life of His people is of small importance before God.—Infinite value of an immortal soul.


[37] Matthew 10:28.—̓Αποκτεννόντων [double ν, also in Cod. Sinait.] is the Æolian-Alexandrian form [for ἀποκτεινόντων.] Lachmann, [Tischendorf, Alford]. See the note of Meyer [Com. i., p. 227].

[38] Matthew 10:29.—[Luther and Lange render ἀσσάριον (diminut from the Lat. as): Pfennig, de Wette: Heller. The E. V. uses farthing in Matthew 5:26 for the Greek κορδάντης. But this is only the third or fourth part in value of an ἀσσάριον which is equal to a cent and a half of Am. money. Hence penny is more accurate. Conant: “The Saviour means by it the most trifling pecuniary value, or next to nothing; and to change the Common Version, merely for more minute exactness in such a case, would be mere pedantry. But as different words are used in the Greek and as farthing and penny represent their exact relation and nearly their actual value, there is no harm in making the distinction.”—P. S.]

[39] Matthew 10:30.—[The Greek and the German have here the advantage over the English in being able to place your, is marked contrast to the sparrows, at the beginning of the sentence. ̔Τ μῶν δὲ καὶ αἱ τρίχεις τῆς κεφαλῆς, Lange (deviating from Luther): “An each aber sind auch die Haare des Hauptes,” etc. Perhaps we might render: “But as to you, the very hairs of your head,” etc.—P. S.]

[40][In German: mit ängstlicher Heimlichthuerei.—]

[41][These were the dying words of Ulrich Zwingli on the settle field of Cappel in Switzerland, Oct., 1531.—P. S.]

[42][Luther wrongly translates: in die Hölle, for in der, mistaking ἐν for εὶς. The E. V. here, as elsewhere, is more accurate.—P. S.]

[43][We add the remark of Dr. Brown: “both soul and body in hell. A decisive proof this that there is a hell for the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both of which, we are assured, will exist for ever.”—P. S.]

Verses 32-33

10. Confession and Denial; history of the kingdom of God, and judgment of the world.

Fifth warning and comfort. Matthew 10:32-33

32Whosoever therefore [Every one, therefore, who]44 shall confess me before men, him will I confess also [also confess, κἀγώ] before my Father which [who] is in heaven 33[in the heavens].45 But whosoever [whoever] shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which [who] is in heaven [in the heavens].


Matthew 10:32. Every one, therefore, who shall confess [acknowledge] Me; ὁμολογή σειἐνἐ μοί,—literally: confess in Me.46 “This corresponds with the idea of ἐν Χριστῷ εῖναι.” So also in Luke 12:8. [The ἐν is not equivalent to in behalf of Me, as Owen explains, but it shows the ground or root of the confession, namely, a living union with Christ. He does not mean a mere outward confession of the mouth, but a genuine and consistent confession of the whole life. “He will not confess the confessing Judas, nor deny the denying Peter,” because the confession of the former was hypocritical, the denial of the latter a transient weakness, followed immediately by the deepest repentance.—P. S.]

[Him will I also confess … him will I also deny, etc.—It is worthy of notice, as Alford suggests, that both here and in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:21-23, the Saviour, after mention of the Father, describes Himself as the Judge and Arbiter of eternal life and death.—P. S.]


1. Every genuine and earnest testimony for Christ is a confession, while every unchristian deed is a denial. “The world, in its indifference and hesitation between heaven and hell—or, rather, in its antagonism to God, under the pretence of morality—condemns only two things: secular crimes and heavenly virtues, or the manifestations of faith; nay, the latter incur its special ire, as it considers them the worst of crimes. Hence our testimony for Christ must always be in face of the opposition of the world, which readily seizes upon it and treats it as a crime; thus converting our profession into a confession.” Let it, however, be also remembered, that every genuine confession is not merely concerning Christ, but in Christ—concerning all revelation, and concerning the new state of matters which this revelation is designed to inaugurate.

2. This confession of Christ on the part of His people indicates the contrast between the import of the judgment of the world and the cause of Christ. On the other hand, the confession of His people on the part of Christ before the Father, marks the contrast between the humble estate of Christians here, and the glory to which they are called. In both instances, the contrast is infinite; but it is the faith of His people on the one hand, and the love of the Saviour on the other, which influences the confession.—Again: Denial on the part of Christ, implies denial of the kingdom of heaven, of love, and of life. Accordingly, this virtually implies the judgment. Substantially, it is equivalent to the verdict, “I never knew you,” Matthew 7:23; only with increased intensity, since it applies to His messengers and witnesses, who were specially commissioned to make confession of Him. Any Christian element in such persons shall be utterly ignored, since it had not led to that true confession which is the victory over the world. They are unregenerate, and hence remain unacknowledged.


The glorious presence of God in Christ, the ground on which Christians are called to make confession: 1. It is a revelation which brings everything to light, and hence fills the Christian with joy in the word; 2. by it the whole life of believers is preserved and completed; accordingly, they are also encouraged wholly to own Jesus.—The kingdom of God and the Christian life as summed up in the word confessing. 1. Our course here may be summed up as either a confession or a denial of Christ; 2. so also the judgment to come,—it is either a confession or a denial on the part of Christ.—As Christ is to us before men, so shall we be to Him before His Father in heaven.—Unutterable cowardice and vileness of the man who attaches greater value to the judgment of men than to that of our Father in heaven.—A genuine confession is a confession both in the Lord and of the Lord.—A genuine confession must be in accordance with what we confess: 1. It is an outward manifestation which must also increasingly appear in the life; 2. it is a life which ever proves a manifestation of the faithfulness of God.—The administration of God will be sealed and confirmed by this, that Christ shall confess His own before His Father.—The great promise attaching to Christian faithfulness.

Starke:—Christ is not only denied with the lips, but also by an ungodly life.—Zeisius: Woe to all apostates.

Heubner:—The judgment of Christ alone is decisive.

[Quesnel:—To confess Jesus Christ is to follow His precept and example; to suffer for His sake; to love, teach, and practise His doctrine.—We refer this great truth to the times of the martyrs, because we will not ourselves be martyrs for the truth. It belongs to all times and all believers, every one in his proper way.—To appear before the tribunal of God without having Christ for our Advocate, and, on the contrary, to have Him there as a witness and a judge, how can we think of it and not expire with horror!47—P. S.]


[44] Matthew 10:32.—[Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις, Lange: Jeder nun, der; while in Matthew 10:33 we have simply ὅστις, without πᾶς.—P. S.

[45] Matthew 10:32.—̓Εν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς both here and in Matthew 10:33.

[46][De Wette and Alford: A Hebraistic or rather Syriac mode at expression for, shall make Me the object of his acknowledgment among and before men.—P. S.]

[47][Dr. Adam Clarke (Com. on Matthew 10:33) appropriates the last sentence from Quesnel literally, without any acknowledgment.]

Verses 34-42

11. Christ come to send into the old world, not peace, but a sword, because He sends, in His love, absolute peace and eternal life.

Sixth warning and comfort. Matthew 10:34-39

34Think not that I am come to send [to throw, βαλεῖν] peace on [the old] earth: Icame not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against [with] his father, and the [a] daughter against [with] her mother, and the daughter-in-law 36[a bride, νύμφην] against [with] her mother in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39He that findeth [hath found or gained, εὑρών] his life [ψυχήν] shall lose it: and48 he that loseth [hath lost, ἀπολέσας, i. e., sacrificed for Christ] his life for my sake shall find נוֹ.


Matthew 10:34. I came not to send peace.—How does this agree with the angelic hymn, Luke 2:14? Meyer: “This is not merely a rhetorical expression, but Jesus really states an object, although not ‘he final object, of His advent; since He clearly foresaw the hostile opposition as an unavoidable transition from the old to the new state of things, which, in the execution of His Messianic office, He must therefore have willed.” So far well; but the expression itself must have rendered any misunderstanding impossible. Hence βαλεῖν is so chosen, that it does not apply merely to μάχαιραν. Wetstein erroneously regards it as equivalent to sowing. It evidently implies sudden action; probably also throwing, casting. It therefore accords with the expression ἐπὶτὴνγῆν, and implies something quite different from the angelic song, ἐπὶ γῆς εὶρήνη.49 Luke (Luke 12:51) uses the expression δοῦναι ἐν τῇ γῇ, and accordingly does not employ the word βάλλειν, which, however, occurs in 10:49: πῦρ ἦλθον βαλλεῖν εὶς τὴν γῆν. By the term “earth,” we are to understand the ancient and established theocratic and political order of things, John 3:31; Revelation 13:11. To it Christ could not bring peace, but the sword, i. e., a contest for life and death, in order to establish His kingdom of peace. The kingdom of God on earth can only be established by the destruction of the sinful principles of the old man, the old world, and the old earth.

Matthew 10:35. For I am come.—Not a mere repetition of Matthew 10:21, but the reverse of the picture there given. The terms, διχάσαικατά, indicate a direct influence from the Lord; hence, the son, the daughter, and the daughter-in-law, are here the representatives of Christ. It has not inaptly been suggested, that these special terms have been selected, because the younger members and the female portion of households were commonly the first to embrace the gospel. There is also an evident reference here to Micah 7:6, although in a modified and free manner. Stier calls attention to the fact, that according to the predictions of Micah, war and the sorrows of the daughter of Zion were to usher in the kingdom of peace. “The best and most precious peace on earth, as well as the ground of every other, is domestic peace and family concord. But so long as it rests on a false foundation, it must be broken up by the introduction of the peace of Christ.” For kindred rabbinical sayings, see Meyer and Schöttgen, p. 105.

Matthew 10:37. [He that loveth, etc.—Our Lord claims here a love stronger than the dearest natural attachments, such a love and devotion as is due only to a truly Divine being. This is one of those extraordinary claims which in Him, the God-Man, are perfectly easy, natural, and irresistible, while in others they would be extreme madness or intolerable presumption.—P. S.]

Matthew 10:38. He that does not take his cross, λαμβάνει,—freely; referring to the Roman custom, by which the cruciarii were obliged to carry their cross (Matthew 27:32). A prophetic reference to the death of Christ; no doubt purposely chosen, in order to prepare the disciples for that fearful prospect. That the Lord anticipated this consummation at an early period, appears from John 3:14. [His cross, as I shall carry My cross.]

Matthew 10:39. He that hath found his life.—De Wette: “ψυχή means here, in alternate clauses, the life of the body and eternal life, or the salvation of the soul.” He that gains, or saves, his earthly life, preserving it by unfaithfulness, shall lose the life of his life. But he that loses it by faithfulness, shall find eternal life. At the same time we must remember that the Lord only speaks of one true kind of life. Hence, the finding or preserving of life in the first case, and the loss of it in the second, are only in appearance. Lastly, it seems to us quite incompatible to suppose, with Meyer, that this eternal life shall only be enjoyed at the second coming of Christ, or at the resurrection of the dead.50


1. “These verses contain a cycle of ideas which had never before been uttered by mortal. All the former prophetic expectations concerning the kingdom of God are here presented to our view as supersensuous, future, and heavenly,—quite in accordance with the deeper sense of the predictions of inspired seers, yet never before expressed in a manner so clear and decided. This, then, is the great barrier cast by the Lord in the way of all who would construct the kingdom of peace in this world from worldly elements,—beginning with the Jews, whose folly is here exposed, and ending with the thoughtless builders of the last time.” Stier.

2. The Lord makes an onslaught upon the corruptions of the world with the holy sword of His word, allowing the world to employ the sword of persecution against Himself and His people. Comp. Jeremiah 8:11; Jeremiah 6:14; Micah 3:5; Micah 3:11; Ezekiel 13:10; Eze 13:16; 1 Peter 4:4. This passage may also serve to throw light on the charge brought against Protestantism, as if it had served to divide nations, and led to civil wars. [The civil wars in France, the thirty years’ war in Germany, the civil war in England.]

3. The Lord makes on this occasion the first allusion to His death on the cross. A masterly preparation of His disciples. Crucifixion was the worst kind of punishment then known; hence the phrase, to take his cross, signifies the voluntary readiness to suffer the utmost in this world for Christ. Indirectly, Christ presented Himself already here as the first bearer of the cross (follow after Me).

4. The declaration of the Saviour, that he that will save his life shall lose it, etc., holds true both historically and spiritually. That species of egotism which ever seeks to preserve its life, and constantly aims after its own, shall find death; while faith, with its devotion and self-sacrifice, is crowned by life. Compare the mystic work: Theologia Germanica, of the middle ages, which follows out this idea.51


Dangerous delusion, as if Christ had brought a delusive peace to the delusions of the old order of things. 1. Character of this delusion,—a. historically: the ancient and more recent chiliastic views, as appearing in ecclesiastical and sectarian tendencies; b. dogmatically: it springs from an overestimate of the old order of things, from an underestimate of the Spirit of Christ, and from a false estimate of what is external, compared with what is internal. 2. Its pernicious effects. We lose Christ, the true Prince of Peace, to follow the standard of a false messiah. We lose true peace, and, with it, the prospect of that kingdom of peace which is yet to cover the whole world. Lastly, we surrender our hope in the great and glorious appearance of the Lord of peace.—The world in its unregenerate state is just like the old garment, upon which it were folly to put the new cloth of Christ’s peace.—The lost estate of the world appears most distinctly in the false peace which it cherishes.—Christ sends a sword in order to send peace.—The sword of Christ, and the sword of the world; or, suffering on the cross, and affixing to the cross.—The family as the basis of every spiritual movement: 1. The basis of the kingdom of peace; 2. the battle-field of the spirit of peace; 3. the first manifestation of the kingdom of peace, or of the Church.—Christ’s warfare infinitely preferable to the peace of the world. 1. The peace of the world ends with52 the eternal rebellion and warfare of hell; 2. the warfare of Christ ushers in the eternal kingdom of heavenly peace.—The sword of the Lord is true peace: 1. It proceeds from His peace; 2. it is wielded in the service of His peace; 3. it leads to His peace.—The claims of Christ are identical with those of God Himself (Exodus 20:0).—The love of Christ in its relation to the love of the family. 1. Its value: (a) It is higher than family love; (b) it may even come into conflict with the latter, for, (c) Christ sticketh closer than a brother; (d) His love forms the basis of true family love; (e) it gives an eternal and spiritual character to the love of the family. 2. Its claims: “He that loveth father or mother,” etc., is not worthy of Christ; for, (a) he betrays the highest love; (b) he does not properly love even his own; (c) he is lost to true love which gives to man his real value.—Enlarged view. The love of Christ far above all earthly love.—The love of Christ may well claim from us the surrender of those we love, and of our own life also: 1. Explanation of this statement; 2. demonstration of it.—Spurious affection for our own, is in reality only disguised self-love.—Relation between the fifth and the first commandment: 1. The former is subordinate to the latter, because, 2. it springs from it, and 3. it is fulfilled in it.—The first utterance of the Lord concerning His cross was when He summoned His disciples to share it with Him.—“He that findeth his life:“ 1. The historical motto of Christianity; 2. the motto of the inner life; 3. the motto of every relationship of life, of every possession, enjoyment, or claim.

Starke:—The blame rests not with Christ, the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6; nor with the gospel, Ephesians 6:15; but with the malice of man.—Zeisius: Christ the Wonderful; Prince of Peace, yet disturber of peace.—Satan and his children the real cause of all disturbances in the world.—Quesnel: Our nearest friends oftentimes the greatest enemies of our salvation.—Natural affection is proper in its own place, but it must not occupy the first rank.—Ever let us assign to God the highest place, as the first commandment enjoins. Amandus est genitor, sed prœponendus est creator (Augustine).—Christo nihil prœponere debemus, quoniam et ille nihil nobis prœposuit (Cyprian).—To deny what is earthly, forms a great part in the divine life.—We cannot love Christ if we cherish the love of the world.—Our closest relationships often lead aside from the highest good; hence they must be abnegated.—Every Christian must bear the cross.—To love oneself inordinately, is in reality to hate oneself.—Loss for the sake of Christ is true gain.—Death for the sake of Christ is true life.

Heubner:—Christianity a declaration of war to the world, and yet a message of peace for the world.—Surrender of natural ties.—What does Christ offer in their stead? Heavenly, spiritual, and eternal connections.—How much of natural affection has been sacrificed upon the altar of Christ [but in this case, sacrificing is not surrendering, but sanctifying and giving up to God]!—Christ has displayed the greatest love toward us (1 John 4:19).—To shepherds: Do you love the flock of Christ more than your own house? Deuteronomy 33:9-10.—False application of this declaration by monasticism.—No cross, no crown.—Without Christ, no true happiness.—Nothing is lost that is surrendered for Christ.

12. Along with the cross of Christ, His servants bring, not misery, but the highest happiness into the world, They who receive them, receive Christ and God Himself, and their reward is from Him, is God Himself. Seventh warning and comfort. Matthew 10:40-42

40He that receiveth you receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophets reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones53 a cup of cold water54 only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.


Matthew 10:40. He that receiveth you.—Such is the general principle. The explanation of de Wette—“your cause is Mine, and the cause of God”—does not exhaust its import. It implies, not merely that the disciples shall find welcome and succor, but also, that the cross which they bring with them shall be the well-spring of infinite blessing.—This principle also embodies the two great features of salvation—it is to receive Christ and to receive God. [Alford: “δέχεται has here the wider sense of not only receiving to house and board, but receiving in heart and life the message of which the Apostles were the bearers. See John 20:21.”—P. S.]

Matthew 10:41. He that receiveth a prophet.—The special application and inference from the principle.—In the name. In rabbinical writings, לְשֵם. Meyer: “With reference to that which the name implies. [Alford: “εἰςὅνομα, a Hebraism (לְשֵׁם): because he is, i. e., for the love of Christ, whose prophet he is. The sense is: He who by receiving a prophet because he is a prophet, or a holy man because he is a holy man, recognizes, enters into, these states as appointed by Me, shall receive the blessedness of these states, shall derive all the spiritual benefits which these states bring with them, and share their everlasting reward.”—Wordsworth: “εἰςὅνομα is more forcible than ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι. It signifies an inward movement of love to, and, as it were, identification with the prophet, and consequently a reception of his message into the soul. He who receives a minister of Christ, because he is such, and with love and adhesion to Christ, the True Prophet (as distinguished from men, who are only His instruments), shall partake in the reward promised to those ‘who turn many to righteousness’ (Daniel 12:3). The prophet to be received may be an unworthy person—a Judas. Our Lord, foreseeing this, says that the office is to be regarded, and not the person; and that you will not lose your reward if you receive a prophet, though he who is received is unworthy. Receive him in the name of a prophet, not for the sake of any secular pre-eminence or any worldly consideration, but because he is a prophet, and you will receive a prophet’s reward.”—P. S.]—A prophet’s reward;—De Wette: Such as a prophet receives, not such as he gives (Paulus).

A righteous man; i. e., one who embodies prophecy in his faith and life. Evidently alluding to the righteousness of faith in Christ.

Matthew 10:42. Unto one of these little [lowly] ones.—With reference to the disciples. Fritzsche suggests that they are so called, because the Rabbins designated their disciples as קטנים.55 Meyer sees in it an allusion to their future low and despised condition. In our view, the expression refers on the one hand to the contrast between the disciples and Christ their Master, and to that between their low position in the world and their high place in the kingdom of heaven.—A cup of cold water; i. e., the smallest favor, the least act of Christian charity.—His reward;—i. e., the reward meet and due to him.

On the result, and the work achieved by the Apostles, comp. Mark 6:12-13; Luke 9:6.


1. The principle, “He that receiveth you,” etc., is closely connected with the fundamental principle of Christ’s own mission into the world, John 20:21. He was sent by the Father, and He in turn sends His Apostles. Accordingly, they who receive His Apostles, receive Him; and they who receive Him, receive God. “This not merely implies: it shall be considered as if he had received, etc.; but, that Christ really comes to us in and by His servants. ‘I in them, and Thou in Me,’ John 17:23.” Gerlach.

2. This principle is in perfect accordance with the fundamental relations of spiritual life. By means of spiritual susceptibility, man comes to share and enjoy spiritual fellowship, and thus both blessing and blessedness; or, the reward of him who communicates spiritual blessings. Receptive spirits enter into spiritual fellowship and enjoy spiritual community with productive spirits; believers through the Apostles with Christ and God.
3. Even in the Sermon on the Mount, persecution for righteousness’ sake had been declared identical with persecution for Christ’s sake. Here also the term “righteous” evidently points to the righteousness of Christ, and that all the more distinctly, that even in a historical sense, Christ, as the Righteous One, formed the connecting link between the prophets and the Apostles.—Lastly, this promise implies a corresponding warning of impending judgment in case of resistance.
4. Extent and conditions of the authority of the Apostles.


The witnesses of Christ must not be afraid of the detrimental consequences which the message of peace brings, so far as this world is concerned.—A Christian may well invite others to share the cross, since he invites them to share the crown.—Blessed misery which Christianity causes in the world.—“He that receiveth you,” etc.; or, the apostolic authority: 1. What important conditions attach to it; 2. how these conditions constitute its greatness.—How the greatness of Christ’s servants appears and disappears: 1. It appears in their being ambassadors of the Spirit of Christ and of God; 2. it disappears before the Spirit, the Saviour, and the Father, whom they bring to those who receive them.—Susceptibility, or trustfulness, the bond of spiritual fellowship and spiritual, communication between heaven and earth.—Those who are susceptible obtain the reward of Heaven’s messengers whom they receive, and that in ascending line: 1. The reward of a prophet; 2. the reward of a righteous man; 3. the fullest reward of a righteous man in the reward of all the Apostles.—Faith in the Righteous One: the righteousness of faith.—Even the smallest service of love may obtain the richest reward, if, in doing it to the Lord’s people, we devote it to the Lord Himself.—If it is intended as evidence of our having received the Lord.

Starke:—Luke 10:16; John 13:20.—Cramer—He that receives the servants of God, receives God Himself into his house.—The more lowly in outward appearance the messenger who is received, the greater the faith which sees Christ in him, and looks only to the Lord. Matthew 25:31.—Osiander:—It shall be well both in time and eternity with him who promotes the Christian ministry and schools, and who does good to believers.

[Quesnel on Matthew 10:42 :—Charity heightens the smallest actions. It is this which recommends good works.—Under a just and merciful God, no sin is unpunished, no good action is unrewarded.—Jesus Christ confirms this last promise with the solemn Verily, to stimulate us to acts of charity, and to destroy all doubt as to the reward.—In the world, great services only receive great reward; in the kingdom of God, the smallest acts of kindness to the humblest persons may justly hope for a very great reward.—P. S.]

Heubner:—The spirit of faith and of love transforms every work, and surrounds even the meanest with a halo of glory.—God leaves not the smallest deed of love unrewarded.

General survey of the whole chapter.—Homily on the apostolic mission of the disciples of Jesus: a. Their mission, and their preparation for it by the Lord; b. the goal, and the order of their journey; c. their freedom from care, and their sustenance; d. their stay, and their further progress; e. their sufferings; f. their encouragements and consolations.—Lectures on smaller portions: The Apostles and their mission ( Matthew 10:1-10).—The world in its bearing toward the Apostles ( Matthew 10:11-22).—Admonitions and consolations of the Lord, to stir us up to faithfulness in our work of bearing witness to the Christian faith ( Matthew 10:23-42).


[48] Matthew 10:39.—[Cod. Sinait. omits the clause: ὁ εὑρὼν .. αὐτὴν καί; but it is sustained by all other authorities.—P. S.]

[49][In the same chapter of Luke, where the Gloria in excelsis occurs, we are told, that Christ was set for the fall as well as the rising of many, Luke 2:34. His Gospel is a savor of death unto death to unbelievers, as it is a savor of life unto life to believers, 2 Corinthians 2:16.—P. S.]

[50][So also Alford: “The first ψυχή is the life of this world, which we here all count so dear to us; the second, implied in αὐτήν, the real life of man in a blessed eternity.” But the contrast is not between this present life and the life to come (comp. the past participles: εὑρών and ἀπολέσας, who has found, who has lost, not: who findeth, who loseth); but between the outward, earthly, secular life, with all its pleasures, comforts, and the inward, spiritual eternal life, which commences already here in faith, [illegible]ct will be perfected in heaven.—P. S.]

[51][An English translation by Miss C. Winkworth with Introductions by the late Chevalier Bunsen, and Charles Kingsley, republished at Andover.—P. S.]

[52][Not: “springs from,” as the Edinb. trl. reverses the German: “geth aus in den (not: von dem) ewigen Ausruhr und Krieg der Hölle.”—P. S.]

[53] Matthew 10:42.—[Cod. D., etc, read: τῶν ἐλαχίστων for τῶν μικρῶν.—P. S.]

[54] Matthew 10:42.—[Cod. D., Origen, and some later MSS. add ὕδατος, water, after ψυχροῦ, cold.—P. S.]

[55][But such a Rabbinical phrase is doubtful. In the passage quoted by Wetstein קְטֹנִים means parvuli, i. e., children. See Meyer in loc., p. 241. Still the word might easily have assumed this meaning as distinguished from רַב, great, a matter. Alford is disposed to take μικροί literally of some children who may have been present (Matthew 18:2-6); but τούτων is evidently to be taken δεικτικῶς as pointing to the disciples present.—P. S.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/matthew-10.html. 1857-84.
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