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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 13:45

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls,


Adam Clarke Commentary

A merchant man, seeking goodly pearls - A story very like this is found in the Talmudical tract Shabbath: "Joseph, who sanctified the Sabbath, had a very rich neighbor; the Chaldeans said, All the riches of this man shall come to Joseph, who sanctifies the Sabbath. To prevent this, the rich man went and sold all that he had, and bought a pearl, and went aboard of a ship; but the wind carried the pearl away, it fell into the sea, and was swallowed by a fish. This fish was caught, and the day before the Sabbath it was brought into the market, and they proclaimed, Who wishes to buy this fish? The people said, Carry it to Joseph, the sanctifier of the Sabbath, who is accustomed to buy things of great value. They carried it to him, and he bought it, and when he cut it up he found the pearl, and sold it for thirteen pounds weight of golden denarii!" From some tradition of this kind, our Lord might have borrowed the simile in this parable.

The meaning of this parable is the same with the other; and both were spoken to impress more forcibly this great truth on the souls of the people: - eternal salvation from sin and its consequences is the supreme good of man, should be sought after above all things, and prized beyond all that God has made. Those merchants who compass sea and land for temporal gain, condemn the slothfulness of the majority of those called Christians, who, though they confess that this salvation is the most certain and the most excellent of all treasures, yet seek worldly possessions in preference to it! Alas, for him who expects to find any thing more amiable than God, more worthy to fill his heart, and more capable of making him happy!


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-13.html. 1832.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

VI. The Parable of the Merchantman Seeking Goodly Pearls

Although it is not stated here that the kingdom of heaven is like a pearl of great price, a number of analogies suggest themselves. The pearl is a symbol of difficulties overcome, since it is caused by an annoyance to an oyster. It is a life-created thing of great value and beauty. Significantly, the gates of the Eternal City are said to be "each one a pearl" (Revelation 21:21). Thus, through obstacles overcome, one may enter the home of the soul.

The prime comparison, however, regards the merchant. man engaged in the search. This was Jesus' emphasis: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God!" Seeking is a vital and very necessary part of knowing and sharing the mysteries of God's kingdom; but so is decision! The merchantman is held up for our approval and emulation because: (1) he did not waste his time admiring the pearl, or wishing he had it; (2) he did not propose to obtain it at a reduced price; (3) he did not delay or postpone his decision; (4) he did not reject it as too expensive - none of these things, he simply sold all he had and bought it!

Some search all their lives for the truth and at last find it. Others, as in the hidden treasure, are not looking for it at all, as, for example, when some sinner marries a Christian wife or husband, but then, in the light of opportunity, rises to claim the prize!

Analogies suggested:

Seeking is an essential part of finding the kingdom.

Once found, it should be obtained, regardless of cost.

A pearl of great price suggests the kingdom because:

It is not of the earth, like gold, but of life.

It is created by the overcoming of a difficulty.

It will form a gate to the Eternal City.

The merchantman set a good example because:

He was not content with admiring, or wishing.

He did not shrink from the cost.

He sold all he had and bought it.

He did so at once, then and there, with no delay.SIZE>


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Matthew 13:45, Matthew 13:46. The Pearl of Great Price.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-13.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

A merchantman seeking goodly pearls. Pearls were then esteemed as the most valuable ornaments, and were sought by merchants on distant shores, the most valuable being brought from the Indian Ocean.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-13.html. 1891.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

The kingdom of heaven — That is, one who earnestly seeks for it: in verse Matthew 13:47 it means, the Gospel preached, which is like a net gathering of every kind: just so the Gospel, wherever it is preached, gathers at first both good and bad, who are for a season full of approbation and warm with good desires. But Christian discipline, and strong, close exhortation, begin that separation in this world, which shall be accomplished by the angels of God in the world to come.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/matthew-13.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

pearls

The true Church, "one body" formed by the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13. As Israel is the hid treasure, so the Church is the pearl of great cost. Covering the same period of time as the mysteries of the kingdom, is the mystery of the Church; Romans 16:25; Romans 16:26; Ephesians 3:3-10; Ephesians 5:32. Of the true Church a pearl is a perfect symbol:

(1) A pearl is one, a perfect symbol of unity 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:4-6.

(2) a pearl is formed by the accretion, and that not mechanically, but vitally, through a living one, as Christ adds to the Church Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14; Acts 11:24; Ephesians 2:21; Colossians 2:19.

(3) Christ, having given Himself for the pearl, is now preparing it for presentation to Himself Ephesians 5:25-27. The kingdom is not the Church, but the true children of the kingdom during the fulfilment of these mysteries, baptized by one Spirit into one body 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13 compose the true Church, the pearl.

kingdom (See Scofield "Matthew 3:2").


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Matthew 13:45". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/matthew-13.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Ver. 45. The kingdom of heaven, &c.] The wise merchant, besides the pearl of price, seeks out other goodly pearls, common gifts, whicb also have their use and excellence; but he rests not in them, as philosophers, politicians, and temporaries. These, as alchemists, who though they miss their end yet find many excellent things by the way, so though they failed of the glory of God, yet they have many commendable good parts and properties. The wise merchant so seeks after these, that he minds chiefly the main, the "one thing necessary," in comparison whereof he counts all things else, though never so specious, dung, and dogs’ meat.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-13.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 13:45. οὐρανῶνἀνθρώπῳ, of the heavens—to a man) Comparisons of heavenly from human things. See Matthew 13:52; ch. Matthew 18:23, Matthew 20:1, Matthew 22:2.— ἐμπόρῳ, a merchant) The word ἔμπορος denotes one who travels and voyages for the sake of merchandise.— μαργαρίτας, pearls) The plural passes to the singular in the following verse.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Matthew 13:46".


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

45. A merchantman seeking goodly pearls — The Oriental profession of the travelling jeweller still exists. He deals in precious stones and pearls. He may find one which, if bought with all his present stock, may make his fortune by being sold at an exorbitant price to some extravagant prince for a crown jewel.

The pearl is selected as a beautiful image of divine truth. It strikes the eye of the beholder with admiration for its loveliness and value. The pearl is a white, hard, smooth, shining piece of substance, usually rather globular, found in a shell fish of the oyster kind. Its shell is called mother of pearl. The pearl is found in the Persian seas, and in many parts of the ocean which washes the shores of Arabia, and the continent and isles of Asia. It is brought up from the marine depths by professional divers. Pearls are of different sizes and colours. Some have been found more than an inch in length, the larger ones approaching the figure of a pear. They are valued according to their size, their roundness, and their purity or lustre. The Orientals have been more attracted by the beauty of the pearl even than the brilliancy of the diamond. A string of the largest pearls, both in extreme antiquity and at the present day, is an indispensable part of the decoration of an Eastern monarch. References to the pearl occur in different parts of the Scripture. Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 17:4. In Revelation 21:21, the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem were “twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl.”

Seeking goodly pearls — There are large masses of mankind who are like the swine, to whose taste the goodly pearl is not to be compared with their husks. This man is one whom husks will not satisfy; he looks for pearls.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/matthew-13.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Again, the kingly rule of heaven is like to a man who is a merchant seeking goodly pearls, and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

In contrast the wealthier merchant does not come across his treasure by accident. He has been looking diligently for pearls. But then he finds a pearl that exceeds all his expectations, and he is so gripped by its quality that he too sells all that he has in order to obtain it. He is like the person whose lifelong search for truth is finally rewarded by coming across the Kingly Rule of Heaven and instantly recognising that it is what he has been looking for. He recognises it for what it is and gives up everything else that it might be his. His heart too is totally given over to the Kingly Rule of Heaven, and to his present enjoyment of it. For him nothing else now matters. He is like the godly in Israel who have been waiting in hope for the Kingly Rule of Heaven.

The point is not that he pays a fair price for the pearl, but that he sees it as so valuable that any sacrifice in order to obtain it is worthwhile. As far as he is concerned it is priceless, and in comparison with it everything else has lost its value. Like the disciples he ‘leaves all and follows Him’. Or in terms of the rich young man later, he sells all that he has, gives it to the poor and follows Him. His heart has been fully possessed.

It is possibly significant that the pearl is indivisible and beyond price. He had to have all or nothing, and he had to give all that he had for it. The Kingly Rule of Heaven brooks no rivals. He could not obtain just part of it, and have a share in it, and meanwhile cling on to the past. The requirement was total. But that pearl had come to mean everything to him and he wanted it above everything else. To be a part of the Kingly Rule of Heaven had become his life. He could then say along with the poor woman in her attic, ‘I have Christ, what want I more?’

So whether a person is poor or wealthy, whether he is an agriculturalist or a business man, whether he comes across it by accident or has been searching for it for all his life, whether he is an outcast or deeply religious, when he finds the Kingly Rule of Heaven it must supersede everything else in his thinking. If he wants to be a part of it he must, and does, devote everything that he has to it.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-13.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 13:45. Merchant seeking goodly pearls. One who is making it his business to seek what is valuable, what is true and right.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-13.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 13:45. ἐμπόρῳ ζ. κ. μ. A pearl merchant who went to the pearl fisheries to purchase from the divers, of course selecting the best; a connoisseur in valuables.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-13.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a merchant man = a man, a merchant. Compare Matthew 13:28, "an enemy".


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls:


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(45) Like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.—Here again the illustration would commend itself to the thoughts of the fishermen of Galilee. The caprices of luxury in the Roman empire had given a prominence to pearls, as an article of commerce, which they had never had before, and have probably never had since. They, rather than emeralds and sapphires, were the typical instance of all costliest adornments (Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 2:9). The story of Cleopatra, the fact that the opening of a new pearl market was one of the alleged motives which led the Emperor Claudius to invade Britain, are indications of the value that was then set on the “goodly pearls” of the parable. Such a merchant seeking them, either on the shores of the Mediterranean, or as brought by caravans to other traders from the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean, must have been a familiar presence to the fishermen of Capernaum. The parable in its spiritual bearing, has, of course, much that is common with the preceding. But there is this marked and suggestive difference. The “search” is presupposed, The man has been seeking the “goodly pearls” of wisdom, holiness, and truth, and has found them in at least some of their lower forms. Then he is led to the higher knowledge of communion with the life of Christ, and for that is content to resign all that he had before prized most highly. Such, in the records of the New Testament, was the history of St. Paul when he counted “all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Such, in after days, was the history of Justin Martyr and Augustine. Such, in our own time, has been that of many noble and true-hearted seekers after truth and holiness. Such will evermore be the history of those who are faithful in a very little, and who, “willing to do the will of God, shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God” (John 7:17).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
like
16:26; 22:5; Proverbs 3:13-18; 8:10,11,18-20
seeking
Job 28:18; Psalms 4:6,7; 39:6,7; Ecclesiastes 2:2-12; 12:8,13

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-13.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

This parable teaches the same lesson as the preceding one on the value of salvation. One word in the definition for goodly is, "genuine." There are many things that appear as pearls but are only imitation. This merchant was not wishing anything but the real and hence he was seeking for it.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 13:45". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-13.html. 1952.

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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