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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Matthew 10

 

 

Verse 1

Matthew 10:1. And when he had called his twelve disciples — From the evangelist’s naming them the twelve, it appears that he considered them as elected before this, though he has given no account of it in his gospel. The number seems to have relation to the twelve patriarchs and the twelve tribes of Israel. He gave them power against unclean spirits — Evil spirits are called unclean, because they are wicked, and delight in wickedness; which is the only pollution of a spiritual being. And to heal all manner of sickness, &c. — By this power of working miracles the apostles, though men of low degree and illiterate, were enabled to draw the attention of their countrymen, and to gain credit to the before unheard-of doctrine which they were to preach; and by our Lord’s giving them this power he gave a striking proof of his Deity, for who but God can communicate any such power to man?


Verses 2-4

Matthew 10:2-4. The first, Simon — The first who was called to a constant attendance on Christ: although Andrew had seen him before Simon, John 1:41. James the son of Zebedee — The fisherman, and John his brother — The beloved disciple; who were also called at the same time with the two former, as they were fishing at the sea of Galilee, Mark 1:19. The word ιακωβος, which we translate James, is the same name with that of the patriarch; but immemorial custom has appropriated, in our language, the name James to the two apostles, and Jacob to the patriarch. Lebbeus, who was also called Judas, or Jude, the brother of James. Simon the Canaanite — So called, it seems, because he was a native of Cana. And Judas, named Iscariot, from Iscarioth, the place of his birth, a town of the tribe of Ephraim, near the city of Samaria.


Verse 5-6

Matthew 10:5-6. These twelve Jesus sent forth — Namely, to preach the gospel and to work miracles; exercising therein his supreme authority over his Church. And commanded, Go not into the way of the Gentiles — That is, into their country. Their commission was thus confined now, because the calling of the Gentiles was deferred till after the more plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of pentecost. And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not — In travelling through Palestine the apostles would often have occasion to go into Samaria; but they were not to enter the cities thereof with a design to preach. It is true, in the beginning of his ministry, our Lord himself preached to the Samaritans with great success, John 4:41-42; and therefore, had he sent his apostles among them, numbers, in all probability, would have been induced to believe; but the inveterate enmity which the Jews bore to the Samaritans made the conversion of the latter improper at this time, as it would have laid a great stumbling-block in the way of the conversion of the Jews: as preaching now to the Gentiles would also have done. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel — He calls the Jews lost sheep, because, as he had told his disciples, Matthew 9:36, they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd, and so were in danger of perishing. See Isaiah 49.


Verse 7-8

Matthew 10:7-8. And as ye go, preach κηρυσσετε, proclaim, namely, with ardour and zeal, as becomes my heralds. The word is derived from κηρυξ, a herald. “Probably,” says Doddridge, “they were to make this proclamation with a loud voice, as they passed through the streets of the towns they went to, as Jonah delivered his message to Nineveh.” The kingdom of heaven is at hand ηγγικεν, hath approached. Publish everywhere the glad tidings of the approach of the Messiah’s kingdom, promised by the prophets. Properly speaking, the kingdom of heaven, or gospel kingdom, did not begin till the Jewish dispensation was abolished, and therefore the apostles, in our Lord’s time, and even our Lord himself, preached the approach only, and not the actual existence of that kingdom. But though the apostles were directed to preach the approach of this kingdom, they did not yet fully understand its nature, that it was not to be a temporal, but a spiritual kingdom, consisting in the dominion of truth and grace, of righteousness, peace, and joy within men. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, &c. — Perform all these miraculous cures in confirmation of your mission, to prove to men the certain truth and unspeakable importance of your message. Freely ye have received — All things; in particular the power of working miracles: freely give — Exert that power wherever you come, and that in a manner honourable to yourselves and me: scorn the thought of making any gain of those for whom these works of mercy and power are performed. That this clause relates to the miraculous cures which the apostles were empowered to perform, and not to the stated offices of the apostolical function, is evident from Luke 10:7, where our Lord, in giving a like commission to the seventy, bid them eat and drink what was set before them, “because the labourer was worthy of his hire.” Nay, in this very charge, no sooner did he order the apostles to give freely, than he forbade them to provide gold, &c., because the labourer, says he, is worthy of his meat, plainly insinuating that while they were preaching the gospel, they had a right to a maintenance from those who enjoyed the benefit of their labours, and should in the course of the divine providence be supplied with all things necessary.


Verse 9-10

Matthew 10:9-10. Provide neither gold — As if he said, Though I forbid you to take money for the miraculous cures which you shall perform, I do not mean that you should beforehand lay up money for your support during your journey. You are not even to provide the clothes and shoes which you may have occasion for before you return; because you shall be supplied with whatever you need by those to whom you preach the gospel. Our Lord forbade his disciples to provide beforehand such things as might be necessary during their journey, because they would be an encumbrance and would incommode them in travelling. He probably also ordered them to go out thus unfurnished, partly that they might be inured, in his own lifetime, to bear the hardships they would be exposed to afterward, when discharging the apostolical office; and partly that their faith in the providence of God might be confirmed. For it must have afforded them great comfort ever after, to reflect on the singular care that was taken of them while out on their first mission, wholly unprepared to execute such an undertaking. Accordingly this was the use which Christ himself directed them to make of it, Luke 22:35. It may not be improper to observe here, that the word ζωναις, here rendered purses, properly means girdles: because the people in the East had a custom of carrying their money in a kind of fob-pocket, or fold, made in the duplicate of their girdles. The word τηρα, rendered scrip, was a sort of large bag, in which shepherds and those who journeyed carried their provisions. Thus the bag into which David put the smooth stones wherewith he smote Goliah, is called both a scrip and a shepherd’s bag. Our Lord, in saying, Neither two coats nor shoes, means that they were only to take one coat and one pair of shoes, that is, only the articles of raiment which they were wearing. “In the account which Mark gives of the repetition of these instructions, immediately before the disciples took their journey, he says, they were permitted to be shod with sandals; ( αλλυποδεδεμενους σανδαλια, Matthew 6:9.) The sandal was a piece of strong leather or wood fastened to the sole of the foot with strings, which they tied round the foot and ankle; but the shoe was a kind of short boot, that covered the foot and part of the leg, and was a more delicate piece of dress than the sandal.” — Macknight. Nor yet staves — Though in the margin we read, Gr. a staff, which is the common reading, many manuscripts and versions have ραβδους, staves, which some think reconciles this place with Luke 9:3; and removes the seeming contradiction from Mark 6:8, where we read, Take nothing save a staff only; that is, as they explain it, he that had a staff might take it to walk with: but none of them were to take any sort of rod or staff besides, wherewith to defend themselves, because, being the servants of the Lord, they were to be defended by his power as well as supported by his bounty. But the more probable solution of the difficulty seems to be, any one of them that had a staff in his hand, might take it: but as for those who were walking without staves, they were not to provide them.


Verses 11-13

Matthew 10:11-13. Into whatsoever city, &c., ye shall enter, inquire who is worthy — That you should abide with him, that is, who is of a good character, and disposed to receive the gospel. And there abide — In that house, till ye leave the town. It is of much consequence that a preacher of the gospel should not endanger his reputation, by taking up his lodging in a disreputable family, or by removing from one family to another, out of regard to some little matter of domestic convenience or entertainment. This is more fully expressed in the instructions to the seventy, Luke 10:7.

In the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they have: go not from house to house.” Doubtless the disciples on some occasions might change their quarters with decency; but our Lord absolutely forbade them to do it for the sake of better entertainment or accommodation, that they might not give mankind the least cause of imagining that they served their bellies, or were particularly solicitous about conveniences. When ye come into a house, salute it — In the usual Jewish form, “Peace, (that is, all blessings,) be to this house.” If the house be worthy — Of it, God shall give them the peace you wish them. If not, he shall give you what they refuse. The same will be the case when we pray for them that are not worthy.


Verse 14-15

Matthew 10:14-15. Whosoever shall not receive you — That is, entertain you kindly; nor, in an obedient manner, hearken to your words, when you depart, &c., shake off the dust of your feet — The Jews thought the land of Israel so peculiarly holy, that when they came home from any heathen country they stopped at the borders, and shook or wiped off the dust of it from their feet, that the holy land might not be polluted with it. Therefore the action here enjoined was a lively intimation, that those Jews who had rejected the gospel were holy no longer, but were on a level with heathen and idolaters. Verily, It shall be more tolerable, &c. — As if he had said, And indeed you have reason to shake off the dust of your feet in such a case, for whatever profession such Jews may make of their regard to the true God, and however they may continue to boast of their national privileges, their punishment at the day of final judgment shall not only be greater than that of the generality of Gentile sinners, but even than that of those monsters of unnatural wickedness who formerly inhabited Sodom and Gomorrah, and were consumed with fire and brimstone from heaven. For the people of those cities never sinned against such extraordinary light and such singular favours as they will do who reject the gospel now to be preached to them, with great plainness and power, by you, and attested by such miracles as I shall enable you to perform.


Verse 16

Matthew 10:16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves — I now send you forth weak and defenceless among a wicked, cruel, and persecuting people. “Considering the nature of the tidings which the apostles were now sent out to publish, namely, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand — considering, also, the number and variety of the miraculous cures which they were to be enabled to perform in confirmation of their doctrine, together with the greatness of the benefits they were to confer upon the families who should entertain them kindly, it is reasonable to think that they were flattering themselves with the hopes of great honour and acceptance wherever they came. In the meantime, the event was by no means to answer their expectation. They were everywhere to be despised, persecuted, delivered up into the hands of public justice, and punished as evil doers. Our Lord, therefore, who thought fit to forewarn them of these things, made them large promises of the divine aid, and gave them directions with respect to their conduct in every circumstance.” — Macknight. Be ye therefore wise as serpents — On the one hand, be so prudent as not to irritate the wicked, and those who shall oppose you, either by your behaviour or your doctrine, unnecessarily, and avoid all unnecessary dangers: and harmless as doves — On the other hand, let not your prudence degenerate into craft, lest it lead you to betray the truth, or to encourage or countenance men in their evil practices; maintain at all times a holy simplicity of soul; and to your prudence join a harmless and inoffensive behaviour, rendering yourselves remarkable for integrity amid the greatest temptations, and for meekness amid the greatest provocations.


Verse 17-18

Matthew 10:17-18. Beware of men — That is, be on your guard against the men of the world with whom you converse, that you do not, by any inadvertency, give them advantage against you: and think not that all your innocence and all your wisdom united can screen you from persecution. For they will deliver you up to the councils — They will seek all occasions of mischief against you, and deliver you up to the sanhedrim, and other inferior courts of judicature: and they will scourge you in their synagogues — A sort of discipline which was used in their synagogues, where they held their courts about both civil and ecclesiastical affairs. Comp. Matthew 23:34, and Acts 22:19. And ye shall be brought before governors — Namely, to be punished by them as malefactors, not for any crimes wherewith they can charge you, but for my sake. Although these things did not happen while the apostles were out on their first mission, yet they came to pass after Christ’s ascension, when Peter and John were called before the sanhedrim, Acts 4:6-7, and beaten, Acts 5:40 : also when James and Peter were brought before Herod, Acts 12:3; Paul before Agrippa and his wife, and the Roman governors, Gallio, Felix, Festus; and, last of all, before the Emperor Nero, and his prefect, Helius Cæsarianus. For a testimony against them and the Gentiles — All these things will be permitted to befall you, that your innocence may be manifested, the truth of the gospel demonstrated, and an opportunity afforded you of testifying it with greater solemnity both to Jews and Gentiles. “The patience which the apostles showed under continual persecutions, and the courage wherewith they went to death, in confirmation of their doctrine, became strong proofs of their innocence and of the truth of the gospel. Moreover, if the apostles had never been brought before the supreme powers, nor defended their cause in the presence of kings and governors, it might have been said that because Christianity could not bear a strict examination from able judges, it was preached to none but men of vulgar understanding, who were not capable of detecting it. But, when persons of the highest distinction for birth, fortune, capacity, and learning, had the gospel laid before them in the defences which the apostles were obliged to make, at the public tribunals of every country, its standing such a trial was certainly a great confirmation of its truth to persons of inferior note.” — Macknight.


Verse 19

Matthew 10:19. But take no thought how or what ye shall speak — When you are compelled to appear before such personages be not anxiously careful about your defence there, or how you shall answer for yourselves, but cheerfully confide in the divine direction, which shall certainly be given you, and shall be abundantly sufficient for you. The apostles being, in general, persons of a low education, and wholly unacquainted with the laws of the different countries whither they were to go, and with the forms of their courts, might have been much terrified at the thought of appearing before kings, governors, and other persons of distinction, and might have feared lest, in the hurry of their spirits, they should be betrayed into some impropriety of language or behaviour, by which the cause of the gospel might be injured. Nothing, therefore, could have been more proper, or better suited to the circumstances in which they were placed, than the promise which our Lord here makes them, which, if received in faith, was sufficient to prevent a thousand anxious apprehensions. Observe, reader, neither at such a time as is here referred to, nor on any sudden call, need the true disciples of Jesus be careful what or how to answer.


Verse 21

Matthew 10:21. And the brother, who believeth not, shall deliver up the believing brother to death, and the father the child, &c. — As if he had said, All the wisdom and justice of your apologies, though divinely inspired, will not disarm the malice of your unreasonable enemies, which shall prevail to such a degree as even to triumph over natural affection, and break asunder the strictest bonds of social life: for the nearest relations shall betray one another, not only to some slighter punishments, but even to violent and tormenting deaths. And fathers shall thus become the murderers, instead of being the guardians and protectors, of their children: and children, on the other hand, forgetting all the obligations of filial duty and affection, shall rise up, as witnesses, against their own parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men — Namely, of all that know not God. You, my apostles, notwithstanding all the humanity of your character, and benevolent design of your office, shall be the objects of general aversion, censure, and persecution, and all this for my name’s sake — That is, for your attachment to me and my cause, though it be the cause of righteousness and truth, of the redemption and salvation of the human race. But he that endureth to the end shall be saved — But be not discouraged at the prospect of these trials, for he that perseveres in the faith and practice of the gospel, and who bears constantly and with invincible patience these persecutions, (which my grace is sufficient to enable you all to do,) shall be finally and eternally saved from all sin and misery, into the kingdom and glory of God: whatever extremities he may be called to suffer in this world, God will not only deliver him from the destruction which shall come upon the wicked, but will repay his fidelity with unspeakable and everlasting felicity in the next.


Verse 23

Matthew 10:23. But, &c. — As if he had said, I do not say this with a view to encourage you to rush upon martyrdom before you have a plain and lawful call to it; on the other hand, it will rather be your duty to prolong your useful lives to the utmost limits you lawfully may. Therefore, when they persecute you in one city, flee to another — And though this may contract the time of your abode in each, be not discouraged at that, which may, on the whole, be no inconvenience: for ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel — To preach the gospel in each of them, make what haste you will, until the Son of man shall come — To destroy their capital city, temple, and nation. The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus is often called the coming of the Son of man. See Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39; Matthew 24:44; Luke 18:5.


Verses 24-26

Matthew 10:24-26. The disciple is not above his master — As if he had said, As for the unkind usage I have warned you to expect, you have no reason to be surprised at it, considering what I have intimated respecting the persecutions awaiting my disciples for righteousness’ sake. See Matthew 5:10-12. And, that you may bear all with a becoming fortitude, consider that they have calumniated, traduced, and persecuted me your Master, for which cause you, my disciples, cannot think it hard if they shall calumniate and persecute you: for if they have called the master, Beelzebub, how much more, &c. — This cannot refer to the quantity of reproach and persecution; (for in this the servant cannot be above his Lord;) but only to the certainty of it. Fear them not therefore — Be not afraid of their calumnies, however false or malicious, for ye have only the same usage that your Lord has: and neither shall their wickedness nor your innocence be always concealed: both shall be manifested, at least, in the day of judgment. For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, &c. — “The words,” says Whitby, “are capable of two good senses: 1st, Let not the dread of these persecutors deter you from preaching the gospel, as despairing of the success of it; for, though at present it seems to be hidden from the world, and it is likely to be obscured for a while by the calumnies of the Jews and others, I will cause it to shine through all the world, and dissipate all the clouds they cast over it, and will render it mighty to cast down whatever exalts itself against the knowledge of God, &c. Or, 2dly, thus, Fear not the calumnies with which they shall load you, as they did your Master, for I will make the innocence and the excellence of your doctrine as clear as the light; and your integrity in the dispensing of it, and your patience in suffering for it, to redound to your praise, honour, and glory, throughout all ages, and especially at my revelation from heaven, 1 Peter 1:7.”


Verse 27-28

Matthew 10:27-28. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light — The doctrines of the gospel which I deliver to you in private, and in obscure parables, preach plainly and openly, without the fear of man, in the audience of all. And what ye hear, as it were whispered, in the ear, preach ye — Proclaim publicly, as though you addressed multitudes, from the house-tops. Two customs of the Jews seem to be alluded to here. Their doctors used to whisper in the ear of their disciples what they were to pronounce aloud to others. And as their houses were low and flat-roofed, they sometimes preached to the people from thence. And, according to Hegesippus, they carried James the Just to the top of the temple to preach to the people at the passover. And fear not them that kill the body — Be not afraid of any thing which ye may suffer for proclaiming it, even though the boldness of your testimony should at length cost you your lives: for they who kill the body, are not able to kill, or hurt, the soul — The spiritual and immaterial part of you: this “will still survive in all its vigour, while its tabernacle lies in ruins.” So Dr. Doddridge, who justly observes, “These words contain a certain argument to prove the existence of the soul in a separate state, and its perception of that existence; else the soul would be as properly killed as the body.” On this argument Dr. Whitby enlarges as follows: “These words contain a certain evidence that the soul dies not with the body, but continued afterward in a state of sensibility: for that which, it is allowed, men can do to the body, it is denied that they can do to the soul. But, if by killing the body men could make the soul also to perish till the reunion and reviviscence both of body and soul; or, if by killing the body they could render the soul insensible, or deprive it of all power of thinking or perceiving any thing, they would kill the soul; for it is not easy to conceive how an intelligent, thinking, and perceiving being can be more killed than by depriving it of all sensation, thought, and perception; the body itself being killed by a total privation of sense and motion. It remains, that the soul doth not perish with the body, nor is it reduced into an insensible state by the death thereof.” Add to this, our Lord may well be supposed to speak here as the Jews would certainly understand his words; now they would certainly thus understand him, it being their received opinion, [namely, that of the Pharisees,] that the soul, after the death of the body, is in bliss or misery, and therefore continues in a state of sensibility. But, fear him, &c. — Fear lest, being unfaithful in so important a trust, you should incur the displeasure of Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell — Who has power to fill the separate spirit with unspeakable anguish, and at the final judgment to reunite it to the body, and to condemn both to everlasting misery in that infernal prison. It must be observed, that instead of αποκτειναι, to kill, the word απολεσαι, to destroy, is used in this second clause, which also often signifies to torment. “What an awful verse is this before us! How fit is it that this eternal and almighty God should be the object of our humble fear! and that in comparison of him we should fear nothing else! All the terrors and all the flatteries of the world are disarmed by this! an idea which, in every state of life, should engage us to be faithful to God; so shall we be most truly faithful to ourselves.”


Verses 29-31

Matthew 10:29-31. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing — As if he had said, The particular providence of God is another reason for your not fearing man. For this extends to the very smallest things, even to sparrows and the hairs of your heads, which are all numbered. In other words, the meanest of God’s creatures are under the protection of his providence, insomuch that nothing befalls them without its direction; and therefore your enemies cannot touch even your bodies without your heavenly Father’s permission. A most consolatory doctrine this, indeed, and a strong reason why we should exercise a continual dependance on God, and in all circumstances and situations cast our care on him who thus careth for us. Fear ye not therefore — Lest ye should be overlooked or neglected, ye, my rational and immortal creatures, especially ye my children, adopted and regenerated, and above all, ye ministers of my word, honoured with so important an employment as that of preaching my gospel: ye are of more value than many sparrows — Yea, than the whole species of them: and therefore you may assure yourselves that providence will watch over you.


Verse 32-33

Matthew 10:32-33. Whosoever, &c. — As a further encouragement to you to cast off all unnecessary cares and fears, to trust in God, and arm yourselves with courage to encounter, and resolution to endure whatever persecutions, injuries, or other trials he in his providence may permit to befall you, be assured, whatever you may now suffer for your fidelity to me, it will, on the whole, be most amply rewarded. For whosoever shall confess me — That is, publicly acknowledge me for the promised Messiah, receiving my whole doctrine for the rule of his faith and practice, obeying all my precepts, relying on my promises, revering my threatenings, and imitating my example: him will I confess before my Father — Him will I own as my true disciple in the presence of my Father at the day of final judgment, and will claim for him the rewards which my Father has promised to such. But whosoever shall deny me — Whosoever shall be ashamed or afraid to acknowledge his relation to me, or shall not confess me before men, in the sense now mentioned, him will I also deny, &c. — As having any relation to me, in that awful day. “There is an unspeakable majesty in this article of our Lord’s discourse. Although he was now in the lowest state of humanity, he declares that his confessing us before God is the greatest happiness, and his denying us the greatest misery that can possibly befall us.”


Verses 34-36

Matthew 10:34-36. Think not that I am come, &c. — As if he had said, Because the prophets have spoken glorious things of the peace and happiness of the world under the reign of the Messiah, whom they have named, for that reason, the Prince of peace, you may imagine that I am come to put the world into that happy state forthwith; and that universal peace will be the immediate consequence of my coming. But this is far from being the case; for, though the nature of my government be such as might produce abundant felicity, inasmuch as my religion breathes nothing but love, men will not lay aside their animosity, nor will they exercise a mutual friendship among themselves as soon as the gospel is preached to them. No; such is their wickedness, that they will make the gospel itself an occasion of such bitter dissensions that it will look as if I had not come to send peace, but a sword among men. For, as I told you before, the nearest relations shall quarrel among themselves, and both public and private divisions will follow wheresoever my gospel comes with power. Yet, observe well, reader, this is not the design, though it be the event of his coming, through the opposition of devils and men to his truth and the blessed effects of it. And a man’s foes — The foes of a man that is converted to my religion, and loves and follows me, shall be they of his own household — Persons of his own family, or such as are nearly related to him.


Verse 37-38

Matthew 10:37-38. He that loveth father or mother more than me — He that is not ready to give up all these when they stand in competition with his duty; is not worthy of me — Nor shall have any interest in my saving benefits. And he that taketh not his cross, &c. — Every one condemned to crucifixion by the Romans was compelled to carry the cross, on which he was to be suspended, to the place of execution. Thus our Lord himself was treated. Now, as this was not a Jewish, but a Roman punishment, the allusion to it, on this occasion, may justly be looked on as the first hint given by Jesus of the kind of death he was to suffer. And the words express this sentiment with great energy, that no man is worthy of Christ, that is, worthy to bear his name, or be accounted a true Christian, unless he be willing to suffer whatever pain or inconvenience cannot be avoided but by doing some evil or omitting some good; yea, and to endure the greatest hardships, and all sorts of persecutions, even the most shameful and painful death, rather than renounce his religion and deny Christ.


Verses 39-42

Matthew 10:39-42. He that findeth his life shall lose it — He that saves his life by denying me shall lose it eternally; and he that loses his life by confessing me shall save it eternally. Or, as Macknight expresses it, “He that makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience to save his life, shall lose that which is really his life — his everlasting happiness; whereas, he that maintaineth integrity at the expense of life, and all its enjoyments, shall find what is infinitely better — a blessed immortality.” It is justly observed by Campbell, that there is a kind of a paronomasia in the sentence, whereby the same word is used in different senses, in such a manner as to convey the sentiment with greater energy to the attentive. “He who, by making a sacrifice of his duty, preserves temporal life, shall lose eternal life; and contrariwise.” The trope has a beauty in the original which we cannot give it in a version: the word ψυχη being equivocal, and signifying both life and soul, and consequently being much better fitted for exhibiting, with entire perspicuity, the two meanings, than the English word life. The Syro- Chaldaic, which was the language then spoken in Palestine, had, in this respect, the same advantage with the Greek. He that receiveth you receiveth me — And as you shall be thus rewarded, so, in proportion, shall they who entertain you for my sake. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet — That is, because he is such, shall receive a prophet’s reward — Shall have a reward like that conferred on a prophet. It is evident, that by a prophet here is meant, not merely one that foretels future events, but a minister of God in general. And the word δεχομαι, rendered receive, plainly signifies here to entertain in an hospitable way, as it does also Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25, &c. Nor can the gradation, in the following words, be understood without such an interpretation, for Jesus descends here from a prophet to a righteous man, and from a righteous man to a disciple, termed a little one, that is, any believer, however poor, mean, and contemptible in the world. It must be observed, that what renders the good works here mentioned valuable in the sight of God, and procures them a recompense from him, is their being done out of regard for him and his blessed Son. By the rewards here promised, Le Clerc understands the happiness of heaven, paraphrasing the worsts thus: “He that showeth kindness to a prophet, on account of his mission and doctrine, or to a righteous man, on account of his righteousness, especially if by so doing he exposes himself to persecution, shall be as highly rewarded as that righteous man or prophet shall be; nay, he who doth any good office whatever to the meanest of my disciples, though it should be but the small service of handing a cup of cold water to them, shall not go unrewarded,” that is, if he shall give it to him in the name of a disciple, or with a real affection to him, on account of his relation to me. This seems to be the true interpretation of the passage. Thus also Dr. Hammond, “How great soever your persecutions are, and how dangerous soever it be to profess to be a follower of Christ, yet shall no man have reason to fear the entertaining of you; for the same protection which awaits you, and the same reward that attends you, shall await them that receive you. It shall be as if they had entertained, not only angels, but Christ and God himself. He that doth support, and enable a prophet to do His work that sent him, shall receive the same reward that he should if himself had been sent to prophesy.” This, “as it is a great incitement to others to express their kindness to Christ’s ministers and faithful servants, so is it also to his ministers to apply themselves to his service with a ready mind, and with the utmost diligence in the execution of their pastoral office.” — Whitby.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Matthew 10:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/matthew-10.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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