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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 10

 

 

Verses 1-4

Matthew 9:36 to Matthew 10:4. The Sending of the Twelve.—Jesus sees the people "distressed and scattered"—better, "mishandled and lying helpless"—utterly unprepared, through lack of spiritual guidance and succour, for the Advent of the Kingdom. It was the hour of opportunity, and if there were enough heralds of the Kingdom, the flock could be folded, the ripe harvest garnered (cf. Luke 10:2—the charge to the Seventy; John 4:35). He has already chosen twelve disciples (Mt. assumes Mark 3:14), a number corresponding to that of the tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28); now He endows them with authority like His own over demons and disease. On the names see Mark 3:13 ff.* and Swete in loc. Andrew and Philip are pure Gr. names · Simon, "the first," holds a prominent place in Mt.'s Jewish-Chris tian gospel. Mt. groups the twelve in pairs. The Alphæus who was father of James is not necessarily the same as the father of Levi (Mark 2:14) or Matthew. Thaddæus is a better reading than Lebbæus (which is a gloss; it connotes "heart," while Thaddæus was thought to connote "breast"); in other lists he appears as "Judas (son) of James" (cf. John 14:22), which suggests that Thaddæus is a variant form of Judah or Judas. In Matthew 9:4 follow mg.; the evangelists, knowing that the "delivering up" (paradidomi) was part of God's plan, never use of Judas the verb that specifically denotes treachery (prodidomi).


Verses 5-42

Matthew 10:5-42. The Charge to the Twelve.—The section forms the second of five passages into which Mt. col lected the sayings of Jesus. The Markan account (Matthew 6:7-11) is followed by Luke 9:1-5, but Luke 10:2-6 (the Seventy) is from Q Matthew 10:5-16 combines the two sources. The mission is limited to Jews, hardly, in view of Matthew 10:6, Matthew 10:23, to the Jews of Galilee. Luke 10 omits the limitation; he wrote mainly for Gentiles. Indeed, when Mt. wrote, the limitation was obsolete. Yet it shows that Jesus came to realise the Jewish hope, and though Gentiles are not wholly barred from the Kingdom (Matthew 8:11 f.), they enter only as an appendage. Not yet is humanity welcomed without distinction. The Apostles preach the imminence of the Kingdom rather than repentance (Mark 6:12, but cf. Mark 1:15); Mt. (Matthew 10:8) expands the phrase "heal the sick," and en joins gratuitous service. "Get you no gold," etc. (Matthew 10:9), means either "Do not acquire" (a repetition of the sense of Matthew 10:8) or, better, "Do not procure" as provision before starting, though Jesus would not expect them to make money by announcing the Kingdom. The staff and sandals permitted in Mk. are forbidden here. The Fathers got over the contradiction by making the forbidden stick an ordinary one, the permitted one an apostolic wand of office. All these injunctions, encouraging the trust enjoined in Matthew 6:25-33, powerfully influenced the first mediaeval friars, especially Francis of Assisi.


Verses 11-23

Matthew 10:11-23. The apostles are to put up at the houses of the "worthy," i.e. such as are ready to welcome them and their message. The house in Matthew 10:13 is perhaps best understood of that at which they make the inquiry; the "peace" or salutation is thought of as an objective blessing settling upon the worthy household, but otherwise returning to the speakers in full measure for future use. Or that city (Matthew 10:14) is the confusing addition of some copyist. So is Matthew 10:15, a doublet of Matthew 11:24 added here to harmonise with Luke 10:12. It is probable that Mt. orginally mentioned simply the house (JThS 11558). Matthew 10:16 is preliminary to Matthew 10:17-22, verses which belong properly to the late apocalyptic discourse (ch. 24), where Mt. summarises them. They reflect a much later Christian experience than the charge to the apostles, and there is nothing in the message and work of Matthew 10:7 f. to evoke persecution.

Matthew 10:16 b. Mt. only. The comparison with the serpent is limited to prudence; Jesus illustrated His injunction by His adroit replies to tricky and entrapping questions.

Matthew 10:18 anticipates mission work no longer restricted to Israel.

Matthew 10:19 b, by the way, is not addressed to clergy and ministers who regularly address Christian congregations.

Matthew 10:20. the Spirit of your Father is a unique expression; Jesus may have in mind Joel 2:28 f.

Matthew 10:22. The name stood for the person (cf. Acts 5:41; Acts 9:16; Acts 15:26, 3 John 1:7, and frequently in OT).

Matthew 10:22 b. to the end is sometimes taken with "shall be saved" (i.e. "shall have deliverance and victory"), in the sense of "finally," but is better as it stands with "endureth," meaning "continually," or "to the utmost extent of the persecution" (cf. Revelation 2:10).

Matthew 10:23. This much-discussed verse is clearly no part of the charge to the Twelve, and no indication that Jesus expected the Parousia before the completion of their tour. It goes with the anachronistic Matthew 10:17-22, and Schweitzer (Messianitts-und Leidensgeheimnis, pp. 102ff., cf. pp. 15f.: Quest, p. 357) is off the mark. It is the community of Christians that is to flee during the portents that precede the end, and it is they who will not need to go beyond Palestine for refuge, because the Son of Man is at hand.


Verses 24-39

Matthew 10:24-39. Further Sayings on Persecution.

Matthew 10:24-25 a would hardly be intelligible to the disciples till after Matthew 16:21; Matthew 10:25 b connects with Matthew 12:22-32.—Beelzebub: Mark 3:22*.

Matthew 10:26-33. From Q (cf. Luke 12:2-9): Matthew 10:26 is found in Mark 4:22, though the application is different both there and also in Luke 12:2. Here and in Matthew 10:27 the thought is that Jesus' influence in His lifetime is small compared with what it will be later. The destroyer in Matthew 10:28 b is God (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 16:13, James 4:12), though some argue from Luke 12:5 mg. that it is the devil. But the usual exhortation is to fight the devil rather than to fear him.—soul (psuche) is variously used in the Synoptists; here it is all that makes up the real self. But they that "fear" the Lord are to "trust in the Lord" (Psalms 115:11); hence Matthew 10:29-31. Even if they suffer martyrdom it will be with God's knowledge and loving care.

Matthew 10:32 f. sums up the thought of faithful endurance elaborated in Matthew 10:17-31.—confess, i.e. "acknowledge," "range oneself with." Some think Lk., "the Son of Man" (will confess him), preferable to Mt.'s "I." Mark 8:38 seems to distinguish between Jesus and the Son of Man; Mt. by his pronoun declares them identical.

Matthew 10:33 should be read not as a threat but a statement of inevitable law.


Verses 34-36

Matthew 10:34-36. Family Feuds (Luke 12:51-53), cf. Matthew 10:21 supra.—Family and social strife is a portent of the end in apocalyptic literature (cf. the mission of Elijah, Malachi 4:5 f.). So the Rabbis interpreted Micah 7:6. History, both in the early Church and on the modern mission field, has abundantly illustrated the sad truth of the saying.

Matthew 10:36 was Jesus' own experience (Mark 3:21). Lk. rightly interprets "sword" (Matthew 10:34) as "division."


Verses 37-39

Matthew 10:37-39. Conditions of Discipleship.—Luke 14:25-27—to the crowds; Mark 8:34—to crowd and disciples; Mt. to disciples. The highest good must be clung to at all costs, though cases of its conflict with the fifth commandment are happily comparatively rare (Matthew 15:4-6*). If we keep Matthew 10:38 before Matthew 16:21, there is here no prediction of Jesus' death, but a general and only too well understood reference to agony and shame.

Matthew 10:39 is found, with slight modifications, in five other passages; here = Luke 17:33 : Matthew 16:25 = Mark 8:35 = Luke 9:24; and John 12:25.—life (psuche) is (a) physical, (b) the higher life of the soul; "lose" = be deprived of "loseth" = sacrifices. "The ‘finding' in the first clause is for the moment; in the second, for eternity."


Verses 40-42

Matthew 10:40-42. End of the Charge.

Matthew 10:40 connects with Matthew 10:11-14 (cf. also Matthew 25:35-40, and note Matthew 18:5). The second clause gives a Synoptic root for John 12:44; John 13:20; John 20:21 etc. (cf. Hebrews 3:1. and Clem., Cor. 42f.).

Matthew 10:41 (like Matthew 7:15 ff.) seems to belong to a time when there was a definite class of Christian prophets.—in the name of: because he is; with no ulterior motive. Host and guest shall receive a like reward in the new age. Cf. Matthew 5:11 f.* The "righteous" may be men and women of exemplary piety (Matthew 5:20) or perhaps simply rank-and-file Christians, and so the same as the little ones" (cf. Matthew 10:42; Matthew 18:6* =Mark 9:41). Mt. regards righteousness as the chief virtue, and Christians are the true fulfillers of the Law (Montefiore). But it is better to regard the "little ones" as a fourth class, "disciples."

On the whole section, Matthew 10:16-42, see Wellhausen, quoted by Montefiore, p. 588.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 10:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/matthew-10.html. 1919.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019
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