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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 19

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-12

Matthew 19:1-12 . The Question of Divorce ( Mark 10:1-12 *).— In Matthew 19:2 “ healed” replaces Mk.’ s “ taught.” Mt. makes Jesus give His own opinion, based on Gen., at once, and it is the Pharisees who bring the Deuteronomic modification into the debate.

Matthew 19:3 . for every cause: peculiar to Mt. Mk. makes the questions as to divorce absolute; Mt. gives it a Jewish and more likely form, having in mind the difference between the view of Shammai that a man could put his wife away for serious misconduct only, and that of Hillel that he could do so for any reason, e.g. a spoiled dinner or a physical defect. Jesus lifts the subject out of these quibbles to an ideal plane. Note how ( Matthew 19:8) He changes the Pharisees’ word “ Moses commanded” into “ Moses suffered,” i.e. allowed.

Matthew 19:9 . except for fornication: i.e. unchastity— peculiar to Mt. Perhaps (Allen, p. 203) the addition is due to a Jewish-Christian editor bringing Christ’ s teaching into line with that of the Rabbis ( cf. Matthew 5:17-20), yet he may have been rightly interpreting it. The last clause of this verse takes the place of Mark 10:12 ( cf. also Luke 16:18, Matthew 5:31 f.*).

Matthew 19:10 ff. Peculiar to Mt. The disciples suggest that if the marriage tie is so strict as Jesus suggests, it had better not be formed. Jesus agrees, but says (Moffatt’ s tr.): “ This truth is not practicable (or everyone, it is only for those who have the gift” (? of spiritual insight). He shifts the ground of the objection. This comparative depreciation of marriage, continued and unfolded in Matthew 19:12, stands in contrast with Matthew 19:1-9, which sanctifies it. We must probably interpret the praise of celibacy (there is no need to take the words “ made themselves eunuchs” literally, as Origen did) in Matthew 19:12 as having an eschatological background. If the Kingdom was imminent, the best thing was to forego ordinary relationships and be ready for it. The saying and the fact that Jesus Himself was celibate have led to the unhappy view in some quarters that celibacy is always and everywhere the superior condition. Cf. 1 Corinthians 7, Revelation 14:4. Montefiore refers to Baron von Hü gel’ s Mystic Element of Religion, ii. 126– 129. Jesus, like Paul, recognises the case of weaker brethren: “ Let anyone practise it for whom it is practicable.” Perhaps Matthew 19:12 is really a detached saying which Mt. here connects with the discussion on divorce by Matthew 19:10 f., which may well have belonged originally to the more rigorous Marcan account.— This saying ( Matthew 19:11) may be the disciples’ remark in Matthew 19:10, or Christ’ s teaching of the permanency of the marriage tie ( Matthew 19:4-8), or possibly His words in Matthew 19:12.

Verses 13-15

Matthew 19:13-15 . Jesus Blesses the Children ( Mark 10:13-16 *, Luke 18:15-17).— Mt. omits “ the more active human touches” given in Mk., that Jesus was angry with the disciples and that He puts His arms round the children. Mark 10:15 has already been used in Matthew 18:3. The common notion that the children were brought by their mothers finds no support in any Gospel. It is at least as likely that the fathers brought them.

Verses 16-30

Matthew 19:16-30 . The Great Refusal and the Obstacle of Riches ( Mark 10:17-31 *, Luke 18:18-30).— In Matthew 19:16 f. note the changes made by Mt. to avoid the saying of Jesus, as given by Mk., that only God can be called good. In Matthew 19:18 Mt. makes the inquirer ask which commandments he is to keep, and substitutes in Jesus’ reply “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” for “ Do not defraud.” If this is correct, and the inquirer had observed this injunction with the others, he lacked nothing. Perhaps we should (with Syr. Sin.) omit “ What lack I yet?” It is Mt. who says the inquirer was a “ young man” ( Matthew 19:20), Lk. that he was a “ ruler” ; Mt. does not care to tell us that “ Jesus, looking upon him, loved him.” The words “ if thou wouldst be perfect” (Mt. only) may contain nothing more than is in Mk., a contrast between Christian perfection and the inadequacy of legal observances (Loisy), or there may be here (as in Matthew 19:12) the theory of a double morality, the higher perfection of the ascetic life (Holtzmann and J. Weiss; see Montefiore, p. 695). The qualification (or the wide saying) of Mark 10:24 is omitted in Mt.; on the other hand, he gives us a new saying in Matthew 19:28 ( cf. Luke 22:28 ff.), probably based on Q. There is no good reason for doubting its attribution to Jesus, although He was more prone to check than to en courage the materially Messianic ambitions of His disciples. The regeneration (Moffatt, “ the new world’ ) is a term used by Josephus to express the return from Babylon, and by Philo of the earth after the Deluge and after the coming destruction by fire.

Matthew 19:30 . Perhaps a continuation of the promise in Matthew 19:29, but more likely a rebuke to Peter. It refers to rank in the Kingdom, and has no bearing on the parable that follows

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 19". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/matthew-19.html. 1919.
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